NEW DELHI, February 26: 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.
“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, which has locked down their entire island, 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.
Earlier this month, the Indian government refused to grant visas to Chinese grapplers for the Asian Wrestling Championship held here due to the disease which originated from Wuhan and has killed more than 2600 and infected over 80,000 people all over the world.
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.
“Don’t connect last time to this time. Pakistan were never coming. They have two athletes who have qualified for pistol events for the Tokyo Olympics,” he said referring to the denial of visas to Pakistani shooters in last year’s World Cup.
“My colleague Mr Javed Lodhi (Pakistan shooting federation’s executive vice president) has informed me that ‘our coach in Germany is only available during that time and our shooters would much rather train with him for the Olympic events than participate in the World Cup’,” Singh added.
Last year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had suspended all Indian applications to host international events after two Pakistani shooters were denied visas to compete in the World Cup held here.
The sanction was later lifted after assurances from the sports ministry that political issues will not come in the way of granting visas to participating athletes. (PTI)