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Despite virus threat, shooters okay with trials

However, the NRAI said this competition, which comme­n­c­ed on Monday, is being condu­cted with utmost precaution and the coaches also fe­lt th­ere’s no big cause for co­ncern.

Published: 18th March 2020 08:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th March 2020 08:46 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: At a time when the Delhi government has advised everyone to avoid public gathering — shutting down cinema halls, schools and colleges — to tackle the coronavirus, a national shooting event is on. The final tri­als in order to finalise an Oly­mpic team is being condu­cted by the National Rifle Association (NRAI), the national shooting governing body, at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in the city.

However, the NRAI said this competition, which comme­n­c­ed on Monday, is being condu­cted with utmost precaution and the coaches also fe­lt th­ere’s no big cause for co­ncern. “It’s not a large gathering. In each event, there are around five shooters. Everybody is taking utmost precaution, using ha­nd sanitisers and ma­­sks,” NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia said.

Bhatia admitted they are taking a risk but reasoned that they had to hold the trials (rifle/pistol and shotgun) at the earliest in order to select team for Olympics. According to NRAI, the trials are being conducted in the wake of Indi­an shooters pulling out of Nicosia World Cup and also the postponement of Delhi World Cup. As per the selection policy, the scores attained by the shooters from those two World Cups would ha­ve been taken into account in order to select a team for To­kyo. “It’s not 100 per cent safe. I’m not denying that. But this was important. The elite sho­oters should be clear in regards to their Olympic preparations,” Bhatia said.

Veteran skeet shooter Mairaj Khan, who is one of the participants, said everything was smooth at the range and he’s actually relieved that he’ll get some match practice. “There are hardly any shooters and also, we are taking precautions. Not doing handshakes is one of them. For me, this event is okay as I have not had a competition for some time now,” he said. One of the coaches also echoed Mairaj’s comments.

Camp called off
The NRAI has called off the national camp for rifle/pistol shooters which was due to be held from April 1 to 15. “We were expecting around 200 shooters and that won’t be safe. So, that will be cancelled,” Bhatia revealed.
 

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