India’s top shooters took part in the Olympic Team Selection Trial in New Delhi on Monday when sports activities around the world were stalled due to Coronavirus. Shooters like Manu Bhaker, Chinki Yadav, Apoorvi Chandela, Mehuli Ghosh and Elavenil Valarivan competed in the pistol and rifle events at the Karni Singh Shooting Range.
India withdrew from the Nicosia Shotgun World Cup last month due to the coronavirus and later the ISSF World Cup, to be held in Delhi from March 15 to 26, was postponed to May due to the COVID-19 fear.
A release from the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said, “Due to India pulling out of the Nicosia Shotgun World Cup earlier this month and the postponement of the New Delhi combined World Cup due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, final trials are being conducted for those selected in the Indian squads for the above two mentioned World Cups, so that they can register their final remaining scores before the Olympic team is announced.”
There will be two trials each of shotgun shooters while rifle and pistol shooters will have one each.
Subsequently, the Indian shooters before the postponement of the Delhi World Cup were training with their masks on in order to get accustomed to shooting with masks as they were to participate in the ISSF World Cup with shooters from other countries. However, while practising with their own teammates the shooters refrained from wearing masks at Karni Singh Shooting range.
Indian pistol team head coach Samaresh Jung said that since the World Cup has been postponed the shooters are training without masks but he also added that after the trials they will train with masks on ahead of the Olympics as they are not sure how things would be during the Olympics.
Jung although mentioned that it is not easy for shooters to train with the masks, he added that it is better to get used to it now than getting their shooting affected at Tokyo Games.
Ace pistol shooter Abhishek Verma while talking about difficulties in shooting with masks on said, that it is not at all easy as the breathing gets affected with masks on. He also added that those shooters who wear specs face more difficulty as due to the mask lenses tend to fog-up.