With training facilities restricted in India amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, several Tokyo Olympics-bound shooters are facing a deluge of challenges.
After a record-breaking performance at the ISSF World Cup in March, Indian shooters have only been training at home without any supervision or equipment. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), meanwhile, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the shooters can travel to Croatia by mid-May to refine their training techniques ahead of the Olympics.
However, a cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the Croatian trip in the wake of imposed curbs on travel from India.
Uncertainty persists over India's participation in European Championships ahead of Tokyo Olympics
The shooters and coaches were initially expected to travel by early May, which could have stood them in good stead for the European Championships to be held in Osijek, Croatia, from May 20-June 6.
Now, with uncertainty looming, their participation in the European Championships is very much in doubt. But the NRAI is still hoping to send the Tokyo-bound shooters to Europe for at least a training stint.
"A discussion is on to find the right place for the team to train as it has already missed vital training sessions because national camp can't be organized in New Delhi's Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges owing to the Covid pandemic."
"There is a possibility of finalizing the plan early next week. Even if the team is unable to compete in European Championships, it will be a good place to practice," a national team coach told IANS.
The shooters will have to rely on home training in case they are unable to travel to Croatia.
Meanwhile, the ISSF World Cup in Baku, which was scheduled to be held from June 21-July 2, was canceled last week due to a surge in COVID-19 infections in the host country. The tournament would have served as a good preparatory event for all Tokyo Olympics-bound shooters.