India on Friday pulled out of next month’s shooting World Cup in Cyprus, citing the novel coronavirus threat there as the epidemic continued to wreak havoc on sporting calendars across the world.
The shotgun world cup, recognised by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), is scheduled to be held in Nicosia from March 4 to 13.
The Indian team withdrew from the tournament on the advice of the government, a National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) source told PTI.
“The coronavirus threat is the only reason we are pulling out and it has been done on the advice of central agencies,” he said.
“Given the situation it was the right decision as we can’t put our shooters, support staff and accompanying officials at risk of contracting the virus,” he added.
Two shooters, who were a part of the Indian team for the tournament in Nicosia, also said they “have heard about the withdrawal” but are awaiting an official confirmation.
The deadly virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has so far killed close to 3000 people and infected nearly 80,000 globally.
India is also scheduled to host a combined world cup from March 16 to 26 at the Dr Karni Singh Range here.
Cyprus does not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus yet but suspected patients are being quarantined as a precautionary measure.
Major sporting events across the world are being either postponed or cancelled due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus.
Among the events affected are several football matches, including in Japan and Italy, boxing’s Olympic qualifiers, badminton tournaments, and archery events, to name a few.
Europa League matches, among others, are being played behind closed doors, while boxing’s Olympic qualifier has been shifted from Wuhan to Jordan.
The outbreak of the deadly disease has also affected the New Delhi shooting world cup, with seven countries already withdrawing.
China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Bahrain have opted out due to the coronavirus crisis in these countries.
Earlier this month, the Indian government refused to grant visas to Chinese grapplers for the Asian Wrestling Championship held here due to the disease which originated from the Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province.
In the tournament scheduled in Cyprus, the Indian shooting team included proven performers such as Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Shreyasi Singh, Lakshay Sheoran, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan.
The shooters were scheduled to leave in two batches on March 2 and 4.
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