Elite shooters begin training in exclusive zones at Karni
The rifle shooters were assigned a dedicated bay - a series of five firing points - from where they will be training every day.Updated: Jul 09, 2020 07:14 IST
Three Tokyo Olympics quota winners - rifle shooters Divyansh Panwar and Deepak Kumar and skeet shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan - resumed training at the Karni Singh range on Wednesday, the first day the facility opened since the Covid-19 pandemic. They were joined by skeet shooter Sheeraz Sheikh who is part of the Tokyo Olympics’ core group of 34 shooters.
The rifle shooters were assigned a dedicated bay - a series of five firing points - from where they will be training every day. They can change positions within the assigned lanes that will be barricaded. There are 80 lanes in the indoor shooting hall.
“We are at a distance of more than five lanes from the adjacent shooter which gives us a space of more than 10ft. Each shooter can keep the equipment in the barricaded area marked for them and there will be complete isolation from others,” said Deepak Kumar.
The shooters were thermally screened at the entry point and their cars sanitised. The rifle shooters have requested that their equipment remain in the range. “It will be done. We are happy that all safety protocols are being followed. It is a good initiative to start the training. It will help shooters be disciplined with their practice which doesn’t happen at home. It was a very good feeling to get back to the range after a long time,” said the seasoned rifleman.
Panwar, world No.1 in men’s air rifle, and his coach Deepak Dubey reached the range in the morning and spent close to four hours. “You cannot enter the premises without a face mask and nobody else apart from the shooter and coaches are being allowed. You have to leave immediately after training. So there is enough safety mechanism put by the range administrator which is good,” said Dubey.
Panwar, who has been training at home, shot around 90 rounds. “He was happy to be able to come out and train at the range. Generally the lanes are crowded but there were only two shooters in the hall today and it was a strange feeling,” said Dubey.
The skeet shooters also practiced in alternate stations in keeping with physical distancing norms. “We shot alternately leaving a gap of three stations in between. We maintained distance throughout,” said Sheikh, who drove from Gurugram.
“I am sanitising the box carrying equipment and wearing gloves while handling the ammunition. I shot after five months so it was literally back to basics. It was the longest break I had in last five years that I have been with the team,” said Sheikh.