Indian shooters will be able to train without having to travel away from their home ranges amid the COVID-19 pandemic as Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said ammunition will be made available to them at their doorstep.
While the Olympic core group shooters living in and around the national capital resumed training in July and August on their own after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) decided to open the Dr Karni Singh Range, those living elsewhere could not risk travelling under the current circumstances, making do with training at home.
Rijiju, who visited the range on Wednesday, has managed to address that concern having spoken to the shooters himself.
“Checked the facilities at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range. Training has resumed and all health safety measures are in place. Taken decision that best quality ammunitions for our top shooters will be made available at their doorsteps wherever they are practicing,” Rijiju tweeetd alongside pictures of his visit to the range.
“Sports Minister @KirenRijiju interacted with shooters at KSSR today and announced that all equipment will be provided to Olympic core group, TOPS Developmental Group, Khelo India athletes so that they can train at their home range during Covid 19 without having to travel,” added the minister’s office in a separate tweet.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) had initially planned to organise a compulsory training camp for its Olympic core group from August 1 but was forced to postpone it indefinitely due to a surge in COVID cases across the country.
Adhering to the health and safety protocols, a handful of shooters, part of the core group, have been training at the facility since it was reopened for use on July 8.
Shooters such as World Cup medallist Sanjeev Rajput, Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala have been training here for many weeks now alongside shotgun marksmen like Sheeraz Sheikh and Mairaj Ahmad Khan.
Both Bhaker and Rajput are quota holders for the Tokyo Olympics. Bhanwala also has a bright chance of making the Indian team for the Games.
A total of 15 Indian shooters have secured quota places for the Olympic Games, postponed to next year due to the raging pandemic.