Only Oleg, Pavel to stay entire duration of Olympics with Indian shooters, others will be rotated

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New Delhi, May 28 (PTI) Rifle coach Oleg Mikhailov and pistol coach Pavel Smirnov will be the only instructors staying with Indian shooters for the entire duration of Tokyo Olympics, with the others serving the team in turns as per a ruling necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A source in the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Friday said that the coaching staff will constitute only 30 per cent of the whole squad in the upcoming sporting extravaganza, scheduled to be held in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8.

'This is in line with the IOC's (International Olympic Committee) new ruling, I think, which is there in its playbook,' the source told PTI.

'So for India's 15 shooters, the team will be allowed to have the services of five coaches at one time, not more than that, but only Pavel and Oleg will be there all along and the others will be rotated.

'This is considering the circumstances arising out of the unprecedented global health crisis,' he added.

Both Pavel and Oleg are the Indian shooting team's foreign coaches, with the former hired after the 2012 London Olympics and the other one in 2017.

In another development, NRAI sources confirmed that coaches Pavel and Ronak Pandit will be leaving for Croatia on Saturday to join the Olympic-bound Indian team in Osijek.

The Indian pistol team's high-performance coach Samaresh Jung is set to join the team on June 6 while Jaspal Rana is likely to leave for Croatia on June 13.

While Pavel could not accompany the national shooting squad to Croatia on May 11 due to delay in visa processing, Jung, Rana and Pandit had earlier expressed their inability to accompany the team due to personal reasons.

'Both Pavel and Ronak are leaving for Croatia tomorrow morning. Samaresh is all set to go on June 6 and Jaspal, too, will be travelling, tentatively on June 13. He (Jaspal) has written to the NRAI and it has forwarded the letter to SAI (Sports Authority of India) for approval,' the source said.

Pavel coached Vijay Kumar to a 25m rapid fire pistol silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics, following which he was appointed as the national pistol team's foreign coach.

The Olympic-bound Indian shooters are currently in Croatia for an exposure-cum-competition tour.

They are competing in the ongoing European Championship in Osijek as guest invitees, after which the Indian shooters will go back to the Croatian capital Zagreb to resume their training.

After the training stint in Zagreb, the Indian shooters will be taking part in the ISSF World Cup (June 22 to July 3) in Osijek before flying directly to Tokyo for the Olympics.

The 13 Olympic-bound Indian shooters, seven coaches, five physios and a two-member video crew landed in Zagreb in a chartered flight on May 11. PTI AH PM PM

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