New Delhi [India], March 17 (ANI): Raninder Singh, the President of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Wednesday expressed confidence in staging a successful International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage at New Delhi's Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range (DKSSR) from March 18 to 29.
A total of 53 nations will be represented by 294 athletes, including a 57-member Indian contingent, at the first multi-nation Olympic sporting event of this scale anywhere in the world, post the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to members of the media before the official start day of the World Cup, Singh said: "The eyes of the entire Olympic sporting world will be on us and therefore there is a great responsibility as well. Thankfully, the Government of India, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the Sports Authority of India have all stood by us brilliantly in the most trying of times and supported us in the NRAI wholeheartedly in every aspect, thereby boosting our confidence.
We are indebted for their support and hope that this sets a benchmark for other nations to follow. This united effort by Team India is sure to deliver a successful World Cup. All Covid protocols and safety measures have been put in place and we are all looking forward to some exciting matches, with several world-class and legendary shooters lining up against our Indian stars.
"It has been a very difficult time for our athletes, given there were almost no competitions to speak of for almost a year, but we believe they are professionals and the best in the world, so will come back strong. We wish everyone all the very best and in particular, our Men's Rapid Fire Pistol squad, who have the opportunity to deliver the 16th Olympic quota to the country," he further added.
The programme was attended by several members of the Indian shooting squad and many including seniors like Sanjeev Rajput and Tejaswini Sawant as well as youngsters like Manu Bhaker, shared that the lockdown had in a way turned beneficial for them as they had found time to focus on aspects like strength and skills, which they lacked earlier due to back to back competitions.
The first qualifying rounds of the ISSF World Cup, New Delhi, 2021, will begin on Friday with the first finals scheduled for Saturday. (ANI)