THE IDEA of the upcoming shooting World Cup in New Delhi being either cancelled or delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak has been floated, but nothing yet is confirmed. On Wednesday, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), the sport’s governing body has decided that results at the event will not offer ranking points to participants.
“The World Cup will neither be postponed or cancelled. All that has changed is that the ranking points will not be there,” National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary Rajiv Bhatia said.
The coronavirus outbreak has meant that the Chinese team will not be attending the event. Neither will shooters from Pakistan as they preferred to train in Germany instead.
In order to curb the spread of the virus in the country, the Centre has put in place strict quarantine rules for people travelling from countries that has a high number of cases. This also means athletes from South Korea, Iran and Italy are also expected to be missing. The ISSF came up with this decision due to the depleted foreign field.
“Due to local restrictions relating to the COVID-19 virus introduced by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India, the ISSF organisers cannot guarantee the participation of all the athletes who would like to enter those competitions,” the ISSF statement read. “Therefore no ranking points can be earned at this World Cup. Still, it will be possible to achieve the MQS that can influence on athletes’ chances to get the desired Olympic Quota Places.”
Though rankings do not provide Olympic quotas, each country may use it in determining who they send for the quadrennial event.
“It comes down to the decision of individual countries, based on their own selection policy,” NRAI vice-president Ashok Pandit explained. “Each country can get only two quotas per event, so say if one particular country has four big shooters, that country might decide to send their top two players. Each country might have it’s own criteria.”
The NRAI’s selection policy for the Tokyo 2020 Games does take in to account the world ranking of an athlete during the final selection process. A contender’s top five qualification scores from the four World Cups and Asian Championships of 2019, the World Championships and Asian Games of 2018, and the upcoming New Delhi World Cup are taken into account, along with ‘merit points’ – medals won, reaching the final round, and also a world ranking in the top 10.
Currently, there are nine Indians placed in the top 10 world rankings across five different events: Divyansh Panwar (second in men’s 10m air rifle), Sanjeev Rajput (sixth in men’s 50m rifle 3 positions), Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela (first, fourth and fifth respectively in women’s 10m air rifle), Abhishek Verma and Saurabh Chaudhary (second and fourth respectively in men’s 10m air pistol), and Manu Bhaker and Yashaswini Deswal (third and fifth respectively in women’s 10m air pistol).For now, those rankings now will not be affected by the World Cup.