The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Thursday approved a two-month coaching camp for the Olympic core group shooters from October 15 to December 14, a move that was welcomed by the sport’s apex body. The national camp had been postponed twice in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) with no option but to wait for the situation to improve. The camp, which will be held at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range in the national capital, will comprise 32 shooters (18 men and 14 women), eight coaches, three foreign coaches and two support staff.
All 15 Olympic quota winners will be a part of the camp which will take place at a total cost of Rs 1.43 crore, according to a statement issued by SAI. “It is imperative to have a camp because it is an integral part of the preparation for an event like the Olympics. The camp will be conducted following the SAI SOP,” the country’s nodal sports body said in the statement. Rifle shooter Anjum Moudgil, a silver medallist at the 2018 World Championships which earned her a Tokyo Olympic quota, is happy to be returning to a camp environment.
“It is very good that SAI and NRAI have decided to hold this camp which will give us much needed practice with just 10 months to go for the Olympics. Regular shooting in a camp environment will give us a better idea of where we currently stand,” Moudgil said.
The shooters have been practicing at their home ranges amid the pandemic and this will be the first full-fledged camp for the Olympic core group since the lockdown was announced. With the national team coaches monitoring their progress at the camp, it will help athletes in their Olympic preparations.
Divyansh Singh Panwar, the world number one in men’s 10m air rifle, is looking forward to returning to the camp with national coaches being present. “Though I have been training right through the lockdown, training in a camp with all the fellow shooters will be much better preparation with the national coaches monitoring our progress.”
Speaking about the camp, NRAI president Raninder Singh said, “Our shooters have been training at home during the lockdown but to train together at a camp is going to help them much more.
“We are very happy that SAI has sanctioned this two-month training camp which will help our shooters to achieve the performance levels they were maintaining before the lockdown was announced.” India have won a record 15 quotas in shooting for the Tokyo Olympics and can still obtain quotas on the basis of world rankings.
A compulsory camp was first planned for an August 1 start but had to be postponed because of the raging pandemic. Another camp, which was scheduled to begin on October 1, was also pushed back due to the same reason.
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