The postponement of Tokyo Olympics to 2021 has affected the athletes and the federation of their respective sports as an additional year of preparation adds to their cost.
In India, the shooters are facing uncertainty not just in financial terms but also about their participation in the Games next year.
The National Rifle Association of India were to finalise the team for the Olympics only for the Games to be pushed ahead.
Now the NRAI have a decision to make. They must either pick the team based on trials that have happened in the last few months or keep holding trials in the coming months and pick a team closer to the rearranged Games.
The first choice will allow the shooters headed for the Games to train with a free mind till the Olympics without any pressure of bagging the quota places that India have secured. The problem, however, is that the shooters may lose form over the course of next year and India may not send its best team for the 2021 event.
But if NRAI decide to continue trails, they can pick the most in-form shooters for the Olympics. However, continuing with trials would not just burn out the shooters before the Olympics, but also keep them uncertain about their place in India’s squad for the Games.
“I feel if the team is announced now, the shooters can focus on the Olympics and train with only positive pressure,” Apurvi told The Times of India.
“I agree that current form is important, and to make sure the selected shooters are in form ahead of the Games, the federation can check shooters’ performance in say, December or January, if they don’t find any shooter’s performance satisfactory, they can replace him/her with the next in ranking. They will still have time,” she added.
Abhishek Verma and Gagan Narang too echoed Chandela’s thoughts but the latter felt selected shooters must be monitored for their performance.
“The key challenge is to always be able to select the best ‘in form’ shooter one year from now hoping that he or she will peak at the right moment. We can only hope that the system gives a fair chance to the best shooter to be selected.” Narang said.
“A developmental group with reserve shooters should be formed,” he added.