The National Rifle Association of India is "encouraged" by Sports Authority of India's decision to open the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range but the federation will take into consideration the Covid-19 situation while finalising the venue for organising its Olympic camp.
Hoping for a mid-August resumption of camps for its Olympics core group after weeks of inactivity, the NRAI office-bearers have a meeting scheduled for July 15 to review the situation and explore various options.
"The federation has an open mind regarding venues but this initiative of SAI is definitely encouraging and will have a strong bearing on its decisions given the obvious advantages of the Karni Singh Range," an NRAI source told PTI.
"NRAI was pre-scheduled to meet on July 15th to review and formalise its activity, resumption of camps, calendar and that remains on course."
The feeling within the federation is that SAI's move will help the NRAI "plan better in drawing up its training schedule" for the core group of 34 shooters.
"NRAI has taken note of the SAI release and the fact that the Karni Singh range has been now made available for Olympic bound shooters for practice and training purposes. This will now help the NRAI plan better in drawing up its training schedule for the already identified Olympic core group," a federation insider said.
Besides the national capital, some of the other options the NRAI has at the moment for conducting camps are facilities in places such as Bengaluru and Bhopal. The NRAI recently announced a core group, including the 15 Tokyo Olympics quota holders, who will be training separately for the quadrennial sporting extravaganza, scheduled to be held next summer after the Covid-19 pandemic pushed the Games back by a year.
A few days later, SAI decided to allow shooters train at the Dr Karni Singh range that was shut since March due to the pandemic. In a statement earlier this week, SAI said full-intensity training of Indian shooters will start in a phased manner.
As per the arrangement, shooters willing to practice individually currently are required to book online training slots to avoid crowding at the Karni Singh range, which will have the facility of thermal screening in place. Last month, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, in a virtual meet with representatives of various National Sports Federations (NSFs), said competitive sporting events can start without spectators from August.