Focus now on ISSF World Cup in New Delhi.
Indian shooters will sit out of the shotgun World Cup set to be held between March 4-13 at Cyprus, after the Indian government warned the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to be cautious of the situation.
“Acting upon the travel advisory by the Ministry of Health, wherein certain nations have been listed for a complete travel ban, the Indian team has therefore been withdrawn from the Cyprus WC beginning Mar 4, because we have found that at least one of those nations will be represented there,” NRAI President Raninder Singh said in his statement.
“Our team would have come in contact with that team and bearing in mind the advisory and its content, it would further mean that there would be a very high likelihood of our athletes being quarantined upon return to India, and they would not have been able to represent the country in New Delhi,” it added.
The unfortunate decision comes at a time when India’s shooters form the largest contingent for the country at Olympics 2020 with 15 slots already locked. While the Cyprus trip is off, they will be looking to start the season on a high at the combined Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun ISSF World Cup which begins on March 16 in New Delhi.
The home tournament will see Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary and Elavenil Valarivan, Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Rahi Sarnobat in action among others.
The ISSF World Cup will bear extra significance as performances at the tournament will determine the squad for India for Tokyo 2020.
Bahrain became the latest nation to pull out of the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi next month while South Korea sought confirmation from the NRAI on whether their shooters will be allowed to participate.
Due to this, the Indian embassy had issued a directive stating that visitors to India from Korea, Iran and Italy may be quarantined for 14 days post arrival. However, this has caused some confusion on whether South Korean shooters’ will be allowed to participate at the ISSF World Cup.
The Secretary-General of the Korea Shooting Federation, Yongjae Lee wrote a letter to NRAI President Raninder Singh, asking the latter to provide some clarity on the situation.
“Currently, most of the Korean athletes are wishing to acquire Minimum Qualification Standard at the ISSF World Cup – New Delhi. However, there is a great deal of concern and worries among athletes and officials that they might not be able to participate,” the Press Trust of India quoted the letter as saying. “Kindly state your position regarding COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, the NRAI is still working around the finer details of the issue, and with the South Koreans already booking their tickets and confirming their visas for its athletes and other support staff, is looking to find a proper logistical solution soon.
Bahrain joined China, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Turkmenistan as the countries that have opted out of the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi due to the coronavirus.
Chinese athletes had earlier been denied visas by the Indian government for the recently concluded Asian Wrestling Championships and subsequently informed the NRAI beforehand of their non-participation at the ISSF World Cup.