National Rifle Association of India President Raninder Singh with shooters Sanjeev Rajput and Manu  Bhaker, in New Delhi on February 26, 2020.
National Rifle Association of India President Raninder Singh with shooters Sanjeev Rajput and Manu Bhaker, in New Delhi on February 26, 2020.

NRAI welcomes shooting back to CWG fold, 6 countries pull out of Delhi World Cup

By Harpal Singh Bedi/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, February 27, 2020

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Wednesday hailed the inclusion of shooting in the final Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) medal tally.

"Ït is a landmark decision by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to host shooting events of the Games at Chandigarh and medals be counted. This decision can set a template towards solving the global issue of financial stress over hosting of multi-sport events," NRAI president Raninder Singh told media persons here on Wednesday afternoon.

The CGF in its Executive Board meeting in London last week accepted IOA's offer to hold separate Shooting and Archery Commonwealth competitions, provided the medals be added to the Birmingham 2022 games.

“It has to be remembered that all of us including the Sports Minister, the Indian Olympic Association President and Secretary-General, all our brother and sister federations and the entire shooting fraternity got together in national interest to get this through and any praise for each and every one of them will only be less and not more,” NRAI chief added.

Senior rifle shooter and two-time Olympian Sanjeev Rajput also expressed happiness, saying, “As a reigning CWG champion when I got to know that shooting will no longer be part of the next games, I felt sad. So now, thanks to the federation’s and IOA’s efforts, it is not only great news for the shooters but also for the country as we do really well in shooting at the CWG.”

If the senior most practicing pro was happy, so was the youngest Indian CWG gold medalist, pistol shooter Manu Bhaker, who said, “I am really thankful to the IOA and the NRAI for their efforts in bringing shooting back to the Commonwealth Games, more so because it will benefit us as a country.”

Raninder Singh also said that six countries -- China, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Turkmenistan and North Korea -- have pulled out of the Shooting World Cup in New Delhi due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

"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 said.

Pakistan, according to him, “was never coming” as it did not fit into their Olympic plans, given their strength in the sport and corresponding resources.

"They have two athletes who have qualified for pistol events for Olympics. My colleague 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'," he said.

The NRAI President also reiterated that any decision on travel of Indian shooters to any foreign country as far as the virus outbreak issue is concerned, would be guided by the advice of the Union Government ultimately and all relevant and concerned agencies.

NRAI also announced a 15-member squad for the March 4-13 Shotgun ISSF World Cup in Nicosia, Cyprus, and a 55-member strong squad for the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun in New Delhi from March 15-26.