Shooters of all categories -- elite, developmental and Khelo India, will be given ammunition and targets to train in their own capacities in the absence of camps and tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
Soon after Kiren Rijiju announced that that shooters of all categories will be given ammunition and targets at their doorstep, Indian shooters took to Twitter and thanked the Sports Minister.
Anjum Moudgil, an Arjuna Awardee, while thanking Kiren Rijiju said that the decision will allow shooters to train at their respective home ranges. "Thank you for the support @KirenRijiju Sir. This will allow shooters to train at their respective home ranges," she tweeted.
Shooter Apurvi Chandela took to Twitter and said: "Thank you sir for your support, it will help shooters to train hassle free."
Talking about the decision, elite shooter Anish Bhanwala, tweeted, "Ammunition is like fuel to the engine of Shooters Flexed biceps, So I feel it's a very good step and will definitely help us in our future Training. Thankyou Kiren Rijiju Sir."
World Cup medallist Sanjeev Rajput also thanked the Sports Minister. "Thank you for the consistent support whenever needed, @KirenRijiju sir. This will prove to be very helpful for athletes training at their home ranges. All of us shooters are very grateful for it!"
Kiren Rijiju in a statement had said: "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."
"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.
The Karni Singh range had earlier been opened up for Olympic-bound shooters, with even a compulsory national camp being announced for the first week of August. However, the camp was eventually deferred indefinitely after athletes, particularly those coming from outside the National Capital Region expressed their reservations on travel and stay amid the pandemic.