CHENNAI: Swapnil Kusale had already done a 14-day quarantine period after returning to his village, Kambalwadi (Maharashtra), in the last week of March.The 50m rifle 3 positions shooter will again go into self-isolation for 14 days from Monday. He’d gone to Pune for retrieving his weapon and other equipment, and returned on Sunday.
The 28-year-old, in contention for a place in the national squad for 2021 Olympics, is expected to start training at Kolhapur shooting range after completing this self-isolation period. “I got an e-pass for the travel. I also obtained a medical certificate to prove that I am not infected. I drove to Pune, which is more than 250 km from my village, in the morning and returned by afternoon,” Kusale told this daily.
Though the self-isolation is not mandatory, Kusale said he wanted to serve the period as a precautionary measure. “It’s for my safety and safety of others, including my family. During this period, I will do holding practice at home to rebuild muscle memory. It’s been almost two months since I last held a rifle.”
National rifle coach Deepali Deshpande kept the shooter in a good frame of mind during this period, by counselling him on a regular basis. “He will start training at home in a day or two, and then go to the shooting range after two weeks,” said Deshpande. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has made arrangements for Kusale, Rahi Sarnobat (25m pistol) and Tejaswini Sawant (50m rifle 3P) to practice there. Sarnobat and Swant have Olympic quotas in their respective events.
Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, another rifle shooter, had also left his weapon and equipment at Madhya Pradesh Shooting Academy in Bhopal, and returned to his village, Ratanpur in Khargone (Madhya Pradesh), before the lockdown. He too has obtained an e-pass and will travel to the academy on Tuesday to bring all that back. “I will consult with health authorities about self-isolating myself after returning to my village,” Tomar said.
Kusale and Tomar are competing against each other for a place in the Olympics squad. Tomar had earned a quota, but Kusale seems to have an edge over his competitor. He is placed second in the event after Sanjeev Rajput, following Olympic trials in February.