CHENNAI: There are multiple sporting bodies seeking resumption of standard training. But shooting is in no hurry. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is monitoring the situation and looking to conduct national camp next month, depending on the state of affairs then.
There are many factors which prompted the NRAI to adopt this policy. Uppermost is safety and travel. “For us, it actually makes sense to train as shooting is an individual sport. But cases are going up everyday. We’ll see how it goes,” said Rajiv Bhatia, NRAI secretary.
Voices are unanimous on this. “The world is battling this virus. Most important is to stay safe in the house. We cannot put anyone at risk. Prevention is better than cure. We strictly follow that policy and that’s why we are not pushing them for coming out,” noted national pistol coach Jaspal Rana.
The other reason they are in no rush is, shooters don’t have to depend on others to train. They can do it at home and most of the Olympic-bound shooters have facilities at home. Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary, Deepak Kumar are among them. There are others who have ranges nearby. “Tejaswini Sawant, Rahi Sarnobat and Swapnil Kolhapur from Kolhapur have a good facility nearby. There are less restrictions there. It’s not operational now and there are no electronic targets, but they can use paper targets and start training,” said Deepali Deshpande, national rifle coach.
Rifle shooter Anjum Moudgil has a range owned by a friend close to her house in Chandigarh. Apurvi Chandela, Divyansh Singh Panwar also have access to facilities.
Moreover, shooting is well-placed in terms of performances. They had a successful 2019. And with a record number (15) of Olympic quotas in bag, coaches feel they are well placed to catch up on lost time. Also, there are no international competitions this year. “Even if we resume in September, we’ll have enough time to get ready for 2021 Olympics. Our only aim is to keep them connected and motivated. We have Zoom sessions five days a week,” Deepali said.
It is learnt that the Indian Olympic Association and Sports Authority of India got in touch with NRAI recently, asking about resumption plans. The NRAI discussed the matter with coaches and everyone agreed there’s no urgency. “If they are comfortable (training) at home, we see no reason why we should call them for camps,” Bhatia said.