New Delhi: The novel coronavirus outbreak has prompted six countries, including the deadly disease's epicentre China, to withdraw from next month's shooting World Cup here, the National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) revealed on Wednesday.
The ISSF World Cup is slated to be held from March 15 to 26 at the Karni Singh Shooting Range here.
"There were some countries which were coming but because of the Coronavirus outbreak, their national policies dictate that they can't come," NRAI President Raninder Singh told reporters.
"China have taken a wise decision on their own as a nation. They don't want to infect others and hence won't travel. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea and Turkmenistan have also backed out because of national policies," he added, referring to the domestic travel restrictions imposed by the governments of these countries.
The NRAI chief also informed that Pakistan will also not be competing at the event as the country's shooters are busy familiarising themselves with a new coach.
"Dont' connect last time to this time. Pakistan were never coming. They have two athletes who have qualified for pistol events for Olympics," he said referring to the denial of visas to Pakistani shooters in last year's World Cup which led to India's suspension from hosting international events for some time.
"Mr Javed Lodhi (Pakistan shooting federation's vice president) has informed me that 'our coach in Germany is only available during that time and our shooters would much rather train for the Olympic event than participate in the World Cup'," Singh added.
Tokyo Olympics on...
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are going ahead, organisers said Wednesday, even as the government called for major events in coming weeks to be postponed, cancelled or scaled back over the new coronavirus.
The fate of the Summer Games has been in the spotlight as the outbreak of COVID-19 forces the cancellation and delays in Japan of everything from football matches to the rituals that mark the opening of the March sumo tournament.
But organisers have been at pains to insist that Olympics and Paralympics scheduled for the summer are not in danger of being scrapped.
"We have not thought about it. We have not heard about it. We have made inquiries, and we were told there is no such plan," Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.
"Our basic thinking is to conduct the Olympics and Paralympics as planned. That's our assumption."