By Navneet Singh
New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) English shooters keen to compete at next month’s Delhi World Cup have been told to undergo a 14-day quarantine here, but they have requested to have it to be halved, citing the seven-day period that their country’s cricket team was in quarantine before the Test series began this month.
England is facing a new variant of coronavirus, and that is why their shooters’ quarantine period is just the double of the other competing countries at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup, to be held from March 18-29 at the Karni Singh Shooting Ranges.
The NRAI, the organisers of the World Cup, has in turn forwarded the English shooters’ plea to the Union health ministry and requested it to reduce the 14-day quarantine period to seven days as they are keen to compete.
“We are hopeful of a positive response from the government,” an NRAI official told IANS.
A total of 42 countries, including England, have confirmed participation, and the NRAI is expecting more than 400 shooters to compete. Tuesday was the deadline for submitting entries.
Shooters from Italy, France and Hungary are the other European nations whose athletes will be seen in action during the 12-day long World Cup being organised in rifle, pistol, and shotgun events. Asian sporting giant China, Japan, Germany, Russia, Australia, and Malaysia are amongst the countries that have decided to skip the New Delhi World Cup, though it offers valuable global ranking points in rifle and pistol disciplines.
“The health ministry has laid down stricter rules for travellers coming from England because that nation is facing a new variant of coronavirus, believed to be more contagious. The 14 days quarantine rule is a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of the virus,” the NRAI official explained.
The England cricket team underwent seven-day quarantine in Chennai after they landed there from Sri Lanka. England’s tour, comprising four Test matches, One-day Internationals, and Twenty20 International, will last February 5 to March 28. Their matches are being restricted to only three cities — Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Pune.
All the shooters will have to follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) announced by the Indian government to resume sports competition.
“As per the protocol, all the competitors will be tested on their arrival at their hotel. The organising committee will also install automatic machines outside the ranges to check the temperature of the shooters on a daily basis,” the NRAI official said.
While the England shooters are keen to compete, their jury officials are not coming to India to officiate during the World Cup.
“There is a 14 days quarantine rule back home. The World Cup could be important for shooters preparing for the Tokyo Olympics but officials have decided to take a break,” an official familiar with the development said.
England has been facing a surge in cases since January, and it also forced their Prime Minister Boris Johnson to cancel his visit to India in January, when he was to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. The new lockdown rules in England want people to stay at home and leave only for work or essential shopping, exercise, or medical appointments. The next announcement in England is expected on February 22.