ISSF World Cup: After Covid-induced break, shooting returns | More sports News

2021-03-18 03:19:48

NEW DELHI: Sitting inside a conference room of the newly-built Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) residential facility at the Karni Singh Shooting Range (KSSR) here, India’s Tokyo Olympic-bound shooters looked a cheerful lot on Wednesday.
Though they had their masks on, their happiness at returning to the international competition arena for the first time in almost a year, was discernible.
The ISSF Combined World Cup for Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun will get underway on Friday at the KSSR amid strict social distancing and health hygiene protocols. The WC, which runs until March 29, will provide the Indian shooters a golden opportunity to test themselves against the world’s best before the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) announces the final contingent for the Tokyo Olympics.
As a shooter wins quota for the country, the final selection in some air pistol and rifle categories will be done based on the performance in the Delhi WC.
Skeet shooters (including Olympic quota holders Angad Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan) did recently get a chance to compete at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Cairo, Egypt (February 22-March 5). But for India’s much-fancied air rifle and pistol shooters, it will be the first opportunity in 16 months to compete in an international event. Their last outing was at the ISSF World Cup Final Rifle/Pistol in Putian, China (November 17-23, 2019), where Manu Bhaker, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan had won a gold each.
For India and rest of the world, this will be the first multi-nation Olympic sporting event of this magnitude post the Covid-19 pandemic. A total of 53 nations represented by 294 athletes, including a 57-member Indian contingent, and 109 officials will be hosted by the NRAI.

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