NEW DELHI, May 11: The Olympic-bound Indian shooting team on Tuesday left for Croatia for a two and a half months training-cum-competition tour, its final tune-up to the upcoming Tokyo Games.
With coaches and support staff in tow, a 13-member Indian shooting team took off for Croatian capital Zagreb, where it will undergo a training camp before leaving for Osijek to take part in the European Championships (May 20 to June 6) followed by the combined ISSF World Cup (June 22 to July 3).
“Team India takes off in 20 mins. Bon Voyage, Get the nose to the ground and work hard for your inevitable success team,” Raninder Singh, president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) tweeted just before the team’s departure.
The two Olympics bound skeet shooters Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan will be based in Italy.
The Indians, including Gurjoat Singh Khangura, took part in the ongoing shotgun world cup in Lonato, where they could not make the final of the men’s skeet event on Monday.
Former India shooter Suma Shirur, who is now the high-performance coach of the national rifle team, sought blessings before their departure.
“With a “Bharat Mata ki Jay” we get ready to depart for Croatia. From there straight to #Tokyo2020 Olympics. 80 days in total. The Indian Shooting team needs your blessings to give their best,” Shirur wrote on her Twitter handle.
After the stint in Croatia, the team will directly leave for Tokyo to participate in the Olympics, beginning on July 23.
The ISSF World Cup in Osijek is being organised in place of the one earlier scheduled in Baku, Azerbaijan (from June 21 to July 2), which got cancelled due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in that country.
There will be nine coaches for the 13 rifle and pistol shooters but some coaches like Samaresh Jung, Jaspal Rana and Ronak Pandit could not travel with the team for various reasons.
As per the standard COVID-19 protocols in Croatia, the Indian contingent will serve a mandatory quarantine before starting the training. (PTI)