SAI clears shooting camp only for Olympic core group; teething troubles remain
The month-long camp for 108 pistol and rifle shooters was scheduled to start from October 5 while a second camp for shotgun shooters was to begin on October 20 for a duration of 10 days.Updated: Oct 01, 2020, 20:54 IST
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Thursday “principally approved” the shooting camp but only for the Olympic core group of 34 shooters. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) had proposed a camp of the senior national squad (rifle/pistol and shotgun) with 165 shooters and support staff at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range here.
The month-long camp for 108 pistol and rifle shooters was scheduled to start from October 5 while a second camp for shotgun shooters was to begin on October 20 for a duration of 10 days. There were teething issues related to lodging in hotels, quarantine period and a large number of shooters called for the camp. SAI expressed reservations on the short camp for shotgun shooters.
“SAI also understands the requirement of a dedicated camp for shooters preparing for the Olympics and has principally agreed to the coaching camp for the NRAI core group who have been selected as Olympic probable (sic),” SAI said in a statement.
“However, considering the prevailing extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the details of the camp are being worked out in consultation with all the stakeholders. In light of the present quarantine requirements of 7 days, especially when shooters/support staff would be travelling from various parts of the country, holding a short camp of 10 days for shotgun was not considered prudent. In addition, measures for implementing a quarantine process for shooters accommodated at the hotel vis-à-vis the shooters travelling from homes residing in NCR are being worked out,” it added.
NRAI on Wednesday sent out a letter to the shooters informing about the postponement of the senior national camp due to administrative reasons. “We are taking stock of the situation and discussing it with the national coaches,” said NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia.
Shooting is India’s strongest medal hope at the Tokyo Olympics with a record 15 quota places being grabbed by the shooters. A national camp was also proposed in July but it could not take off because of similar problems.
“It has been six months since our shooters had a proper camp. After the opening of lockdown, the shooters have started training at local ranges but without proper coaching. There has to be a national camp now,” said a national coach.
A short duration camp for rifle and pistol shooters starting October 15, with only the Olympic core group of 28 shooters, has now been recommended by the coaches.
Also, SAI opened the training facilities at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range for national squad shooters with effect from October 5. SAI had already opened the range for the NRAI core group as well as the developmental group and Khelo India shooters. “Sixty four additional shooters would be provided ammunition and targets at Govt expense,” it said.