Ammunition will be delivered at your doorstep: Rijiju tells shooters

New Delhi, Sep 9 (PTI) Indian shooters will be able to train without having to travel away from their home ranges amid the COVID-19 pandemic as Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said ammunition will be made available to them at their doorstep.
While the Olympic core group shooters living in and around the national capital resumed training in July and August on their own after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) decided to open the Dr Karni Singh Range, those living elsewhere could not risk travelling under the current circumstances, making do with training at home.
Rijiju, who visited the range on Wednesday, announced that shooters of all categories elite, developmental and Khelo India will be given ammunition and targets from KSSR and other accredited academies so that they can continue to train at their home range.
“It is important that athletes, especially 2024 and 2028 Olympic probables get a chance to continue their training wherever they are in the country. They may not be able to visit KSSR or other academies owing to the Covid 19 situation,” Rijiju said in a statement.
“However, many of them practice in their home range as well as in facilities near their homes. We want to ensure that their training is in no way compromised because of lack of availability of ammunition.
“Athletes can collect whatever they need from KSSR and other accredited academies and continue their sporting activities.”
The decision will impact a total of 253 shooters across elite, developmental and Khelo India athletes, who can now train at a sporting facility convenient for them, without having to come to KSSR.
With this decision elite shooters like Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil, Saurabh Chaudhary and several others will have the advantage of training in their home towns.
Speaking about the decision, elite shooter Anish Bhanwala, who interacted with Rijiju during his visit, said, “It felt great that Minister Sir came to meet us and enquire about our needs.
“If we can get the ammunition and practice at a range which is closer to our homes it will not just ensure our safety during Covid times but also allow us to devote more time to training.
“I am sure elite shooters who do not live in Delhi will benefit hugely from this decision. This will ensure that we can continue our Olympic training.”
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) had initially planned to organise a compulsory training camp for its Olympic core group from August 1 but was forced to postpone it indefinitely due to a surge in COVID cases across the country.
Adhering to the health and safety protocols, a handful of shooters, part of the core group, have been training at the facility since it was reopened for use on July 8.
Shooters such as World Cup medallist Sanjeev Rajput, Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala have been training here for many weeks now alongside shotgun marksmen like Sheeraz Sheikh and Mairaj Ahmad Khan.
Both Bhaker and Rajput are quota holders for the Tokyo Olympics. Bhanwala also has a bright chance of making the Indian team for the Games.
A total of 15 Indian shooters have secured quota places for the Olympic Games, postponed to next year due to the raging pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Rijiju had tweeted alongside pictures of his visit, “Checked the facilities at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range. Training has resumed and all health safety measures are in place.
“Taken decision that best quality ammunition for our top shooters will be made available at their doorsteps wherever they are practicing,” Rijiju tweeetd alongside pictures of his visit to the range.” PTI