Says May and June will be important for preparations

Champions have an uncanny sense of timing. When some Indian athletes are struggling to travel for training and competition abroad, Asian skeet champion and World record holder Angad Vir Singh Bajwa was able to find his way to Italy, for a long training stint.

With the shotgun World Cup scheduled to be staged in Lonato from May 7, Angad flew into Europe, about a month in advance, before airlines and countries banned Indian travellers.

Relieved

“I came before the situation got bad. I am training at my own expense,” said Angad from Italy, relieved that he could not only train but also get some repair work done on his gun. The government machinery often does not keep pace with the urgency of the athletes.

Even though he has been covered by the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), there was no time for Angad to wait and get the sanction.

“It is unfortunate that athletes who are going to the Olympics cannot get sanction, but others do. Olympics is very important and training here is the key, especially with the COVID cases in India going crazy. Hoping to stay here and train till the situation gets better,” said Angad.

About a fortnight after Angad, another skeet shooter Gurjoat Singh Khangura also managed to reach Italy. Coach Jitender Beniwal is with Angad and that has been a big help.

Mairaj Ahmad Khan, the second Olympic quota winner in skeet, has had a bereavement in the family with his father passing away.

“I will start training at the Delhi range next week. As the COVID scene is very bad, trying to keep safety as a priority,” said Mairaj, hopeful of regaining his focus.

“I hope Mairaj can make it here, as he will benefit with training here prior to the Olympics. The Olympics are more important than the World Cup,” said Angad.

With a long term visa helping in training in Europe, Angad was optimistic of capitalising on the situation. “May and June will be really important for Olympic preparation.”

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