NEW DELHI: In a year hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, none of the domestic shooting tournaments have been held yet and are being considered as good as being ruled out. However, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is expected to salvage the 2020 National Championships by going ahead with the tournament in December, with a decision on the matter expected on October 22.
“All media speculation. We will announce it after the 22nd (of October). It all depends on the committee that will decide,” said NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia when being asked about the development by Timesofindia.com.
The ‘speculation’ referred to by Bhatia was about the Nationals likely to be held at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range (DKSSR) in Delhi. However, the NRAI secretary refused to comment on those details.
“I cannot say (anything about) that,” he replied when asked if there is any truth to that.
The DKSSR facility in Delhi was re-opened by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in July this year. It is scheduled to host a two-month national camp for 32 Olympic core-group shooters from October 15 to December 17. That leaves the possibility of National Championships happening only towards the end of December or sometime in January, if it is to be hosted at DKSSR.
There is also a possibility that the shotgun and rifle/pistol competitions will be scheduled on separate dates and not held simultaneously.
Last year, close to 7000 shooters participated in the Nationals, which makes it a huge logistical challenge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Also, in the absence of domestic tournaments this year, which act as the qualifying events for Nationals, only those who achieved the qualifying scores in the last domestic calendar (various tournaments that act as qualifiers) are expected to be given entry to the tournament.
According to the ‘Eligibility’ rule 1.7 mentioned in the NRAI Match Book, any “Shooter, who had achieved the relevant present MQS (minimum qualifying score) as per rule 17.6 during previous All India GV Mavlankar Shooting Championships (AIGVMSC)/Zonal Championships/Inter-School Shooting Championship but was not able to participate in NSCC (National Shooting Championship Competitions), will be allowed to compete in the next NSCC provided his/her absence is not more than two AIGVMSC/Zonal Championships subject to the one/two-year score being the valid MQS for the present NSCC.”
The final decision on the tournament going ahead may also depend on SAI and the government’s Covid-19 rules in force.