The ISSF said there will no ranking points in the tournament scheduled to be held from March 15 to 26 as the organisers are not in a position to guarantee participation of all athletes owing to the extraordinary situation.
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has scrapped global ranking points for the World Cup to be stage at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges here from March 15 to 26 after travel restrictions imposed by the Indian government due to the novel coronavirus barred top shooters from affected countries like Italy, South Korea and Japan from competing.
An update posted on Wednesday by the ISSF on its website says the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) can’t guarantee participation of all shooters. “Therefore no ranking points can be earned at this World Cup,” it said. “Still, it will be possible to achieve MQS (minimum qualifying score) that can influence on athletes chances to get the desired Olympic quota places.”
India’s trap team was keenly awaiting the World Cup for earning ranking points, having failed to do so during the qualification period which ended last November. Had ranking points been available, good performances would have brightened their chances of winning individual quota spots—the deadline is May 31—for the Tokyo Olympics. Individual berths can be earned in this manner if quota places for country have not been achieved. India had also missed this week’s World Cup in Cyprus because of the coronavirus crisis.
Freezing ranking points will make it tough, national trap team member Prithviraj Tondaiman said. “It will be a challenging task to improve ranking and stay in the race for Olympic quota,” he said.
A government travel advisory issued on Tuesday says in view of the global scenario due to COVID-19 all regular visa and e-visa granted to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan issued on or before March 3, and who have not entered India, stands suspended and those who want to travel to India due to compelling reasons may seek fresh visa. Visas issued to Chinese nationals on or before February 5 have also been suspended.
Passengers of all international flights entering India are required to furnish self-declaration of their travel history to health and immigration officials on arrival.
Europe, especially Italy, is home to many top shotgun shooters. “To prepare for the New Delhi World Cup, shooters from countries like Thailand and Kuwait had also gone either for training or to get weapon accessories,” said an official familiar with the development. “It might restrict more countries from participating in the competition,” he said.
Rajiv Bhatia, NRAI secretary, said the World Cup is on as of now. “The federation is following the government advisory on visa restrictions to certain nations due to growing concern of virus threat. As per the advisory, preventive measures will be taken during the competition and at the team hotel,” he added.
India has seen a sudden spike in coronavirus cases this week, which stood at 28 on Wednesday.