ISSF World Cup: An unnamed shooter has tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun which is scheduled to start on Friday here at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range (DKSSR). “One shooter has tested COVID positive just before the start of ISSF Shooting World Cup, the player has been shifted to the hospital and his roommate has also been isolated,” Rajeev Bhatia, the secretary of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) told ANI.
“The moment we came to know we isolated him, not today but the day we came to know. There is only one case that is positive and we are following all the protocols. We have also isolated the other two persons of that team,” he added.
When asked about the team’s name the NRAI secretary denied revealing the identity,
“Yesterday night we decided that they will not be allowed to come to the range,” he said.
Meanwhile, the world’s top three shooters in the Men’s 10M Air Rifle are set to clash on competition day one of the ISSF World Cup.
The host country’s Divyansh Singh Panwar, currently ranked one in the world in the event, will be up against world number two, Petar Gorsa of Croatia, and world number three Istvan Peni of Hungary, as they attempt to qualify for the eight-man final scheduled on Saturday, from a field of 55 shooters.
The first competition day will see two qualification matches, both beginning in the second half of the day, with the Women’s 10M Air Rifle 60-shot qualification round also slated to begin after the men’s qualification round gets over.
In Women’s 10M Air Rifle too, India heads the world charts with Elavenil Valarivan perched on the summit. That will be a tough clash as well what with reigning Olympic champion Virginia Thrasher of the USA, also entered among the 45 shooters in the fray.
In fact, both the 10M Air Rifle events, will give Indian audiences a sneak-peek into what lies in store for Indian shooters at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, with no less than 14 (seven each in both events besides the Indian quota winners) Tokyo quota holders lined up for starts at the DKSSR on Friday.
In the men’s event, apart from Petar and Istvan, the Indian trio of Divyansh, Deepak Kumar and Arjun Babuta, will also have to contend with the likes of Hungarian Shooting legend Peter Sidi and Ukranian Serhiy Kulish, Rio Olympics silver medallist and the man who denied Abhinav Bindra a medal there.
Serhiy is still looking for a Tokyo quota and with his current rank of 41, will look to win the event to qualify. Other strong contenders for the quota in the event will be Illia Charheika (World No.10 from Belarus), Nam Taeyun (World No.18 from Korea), Peter Hellenbrand (World No. 32 from the Netherlands) and Napis Tortungpanish (World No. 49 from Thailand).
In the Women’s 10M Air Rifle, Elavenil, Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil of India will also be facing the determination of several top shooters who would be looking to bag the final rankings spot for Tokyo with an outright win.
While most quota places have been distributed and India has already bagged a record 15 berths, a final spot in each Olympic event is still to be decided on the basis of World Rankings and this is the final event before Tokyo for Rifle and Pistol Shooters, where it can be achieved.