After getting COVID vaccine, Indian shooters to shift base to Croatia

Majority of the Tokyo-bound Indian shooting contingent will train in Croatia for three months before travelling to Japan for the Olympics.

By Utathya Nag

Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian shooters will receive their COVID-19 vaccinations on Thursday before travelling to Zagreb, Croatia, for the European Championships, which will be held from May 20 to June 6.

Thirteen Indian pistol and rifle shooters, along with their coaches and support staff, will be reporting to New Delhi on Tuesday for their quarantine.

Shooters and coaches who are yet to get their COVID jabs will be inoculated on May 6 within the quarantine period.

The team will then fly to Zagreb on a chartered flight on May 11 for the European Championships.

India will only participate in the non-competitive Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) category at the European Championships, where shooters can take part in the qualifying rounds but won’t be eligible to fight for medals.

After the event, the contingent will stay back in Croatia to train before travelling to Tokyo directly for the Olympics in July.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) - India's sports shooting body - had earlier planned for the shooters to come back to New Delhi to train before sending them off to Tokyo. The plan was dropped due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in India. 

The NRAI has also provisioned for private coaches and support staff to travel to Zagreb with the squad. Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan and Divyansh Panwar will travel with their own coaches.

India, last month, had named a 15-member core squad for Tokyo. Barring the 13 pistol and rifle shooters who will travel two Zagreb, skeet shooters Angad Vir Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan are also part of the core team.

Both Angad Vir Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan will be training in Italy till the Olympics. Bajwa is already in Europe while Mairaj is expected to join him soon.