By Navneet Singh
New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) In a big respite for English shooters preparing to compete at next month’s New Delhi’s World Cup, India’s union health ministry has agreed to halve the 14-day quarantine period, a privilege that was granted to the England cricket team now playing in India at the moment.
English shooters had requested, through the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), for a seven-day quarantine, citing the example of their national cricket team. The NRAI, in turn, had forwarded the request to the Union health ministry, which eventually agreed to halve it, said a source.
“The health ministry has agreed to reduce the quarantine period for English shooter to seven days. The team will be quarantined at the official team hotel near Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges for a week,” the source told IANS.
London Olympic champion in double trap Peter Wilson is among the 14-member English team. Since double trap event has been scrapped from the Olympic programme, Wilson will compete in trap event at the New Delhi World Cup.
The health ministry has laid down stricter rules for travellers coming from England as the nation is facing a new variant of coronavirus, believed to be more contagious. The 14-day quarantine rule is a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of the virus.
“The government has granted the relaxation for sports competition,” said an official of the NRAI.
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.
Around 300 shooters from as many as 40 nations have confirmed participation in the World Cup, to be held from March 18 to 29, in rifle, pistol and shotgun events.
All the participants will have to follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) announced by the government for resumption of sports competitions.
“As per protocol, all the competitors will be tested on their arrival at the 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 of the new rules.
Asian sporting giants China, Japan, Germany, Russia, Australia and Malaysia are some of the countries that have decided to skip the World Cup, knowing well that the event offers valuable global ranking points in rifle and pistol disciplines.
Host India is fielding a 57 member team with the aim of providing exposure to the Olympic hopeful shooters.