What's the story?
The South Korean shooting federation has asked for clarification from its Indian counterpart, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) if the former's shooters would be allowed to take part at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi. This is in the wake of Coronavirus threats, with South Korea being one of the severely affected areas by the virus.
In case you didn't know
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup is scheduled to be held in New Delhi from 15th to 26th March. The World Cup will include all the 3 shooting disciplines - Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun.
The event is considered as a critical event in the ISSF calendar for 2020 with the shooters trying to attain the Minimum Qualification Standard (MQS) for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. But the event has been affected by a spate of withdrawals due to the deadly Coronavirus threats. Six countries, including China and Taiwan, have already pulled out from the World Cup.
Heart of the matter
The Union Health Ministry of India had recently issued a travel advisory cautioning Indians against non-essential travel to South Korea, Iran and Italy.
This prompted the national shooting federation of South Korea to seek clarification from the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) regarding the possibility of their shooters' participation in the Shooting World Cup to be staged in New Delhi from 15th to 26th March.
The Korea Shooting Federation Secretary General Yongjae Lee wrote a letter to Raninder Singh, the NRAI president, expressing the Korean shooters desire to participate at the New Delhi World Cup.
“Currently, most of the Korean athletes are wishing to acquire Minimum Qualification Standard at the ISSF World Cup — New Delhi. However, there is a great deal of concern and worries among athletes and officials that they might not be able to participate"
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It is understood that the Korean Federation wanted to understand the NRAI's stand on the Korean athletes' participation in the wake of restrictions imposed by the Indian Government due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
“We hope to get a direction from the federation and the Organising Committee as soon as possible. Kindly state your position regarding the COVID-19.”
Lee added that the travel formalities of the athletes and officials have already been completed with the tickets booked and the visa fees paid as well.
In a related development, Bahrain has become the 7th nation to pull out of the World Cup. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea and Turkmenistan had already withdrawn from the event earlier.
Although the NRAI has not taken any official stand on this issue, it is learnt that they are in touch with the external affairs ministry and the ISSF to define the next course of action.
"The NRAI can't give directions. This (coronavirus) is a ssituation that is developing very fast. Now Bahrain has also withdrawn from the World Cup and there are also doubts over Iran's participation as flights service from Iran has been stopped for now. That's what we hear. It's very difficult to to give definitive conclusion so quickly given the situation"
Although the New Delhi World Cup is a major event and the South Korean team is eager to participate in it, the health threat cannot be ignored.
The NRAI will have to wait for final directions from the Union Ministry before taking a call on the South Korean shooter's participation in the shooting World Cup.
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