The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) plans to announce the Olympics-bound shooting squad in the first week of April. It will also select two reserve shooters in each shooting discipline for the next preparatory camp in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, says NRAI president Raninder Singh. “We plan to make the team public on April 3 or 4 depending on the availability of the members of the selection panel of the NRAI. This is to ensure that we start the final preparation as soon as possible,” said Singh.
In times of Covid-19 pandemic, the federation also plans to have two reserve shooters in the disciplines India have earned Olympic quota places.
“This is to ensure back-up. In case the main shooter gets ill, the first reserve will get a chance. Or in an emergency, if the top two shooters are unwell, the second reserve would get a chance,” said the NRAI president.
In the 2019 qualification, India had won 15 Olympic quota places including two in men’s skeet event.
“The health ministry advisory will give us an accurate picture of the new wave of Covid-19 peak. My priority is to ensure good health of the core group of shooters as well as think of international exposure to them. So that the shooters can become match-fit,” he said.
For the just-concluded New Delhi World Cup, the NRAI had selected a big contingent of 57 shooters. Despite staying in the bio-bubble at the official team hotel near the competition venue, six shooters including three Indians tested positive for Covid-19.
Due to a new wave of virus, the NRAI had to cancel the proposed national shooting championships to be held in the second week of April. The Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges were the venue for pistol events while the rifle competition was scheduled to be held in Bhopal.
The federation hasn’t announced dates of the next Olympic preparation camp.