Jaspal Rana, Indian pistol shooting legend and presently a shooting coach, has passed up a job offer from a private shooting club in Brazil, drawing attention to the prevalence of the novel Coronavirus pandemic and international travel restrictions.
A whopping four times Asian games gold medallist, Jaspal Rana currently trains young shooters at the Jaspal Rana Institute of Education and Technology in Dehradun. He had received an offer from Cuiaba Shooting Club a couple of days ago, where the club president had invited Rana to join them, along with six of his pupils to train at the club.
However, citing the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the travel restrictions outside the country, Jaspal Rana has turned down the offer, as he spoke to IANS.
“Two days back, I got a message from the president of a private Brazil shooting club, Cuiaba Shooting Club. Mr Marcus Correa said that they are starting pistol training and would want me to join them along with my six trainees,” Rana said in the interview.
“I declined the offer considering the rising number of coronavirus cases everywhere. I thanked him and informed him that our shooters are not allowed to travel outside India right now,” the 44 year old added.
Although turning the offer down, Jaspal Rana laments lack of overseas competitions
Even though he declined the Brazil club’s proposal, Jaspan Rana claimed that the absence of international contests has negatively impacted the shooters’ performances, worrying about the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
“Our boys and girls haven’t played any tournament for so long,” Rana went on, “and you don’t know when everything will start again. Going into the Olympic year without any competition/practice would be a different kind of challenge for our young brigade.”
The Arjuna and Padma Shri awardee further stated that the past months of lock down has been a tough challenge for the shooters, and some proper competition is in the need of the hour to prepare themselves to handle the level of competition at the Olympics.
I just wish that this entire coronavirus thing gets over and our shooters get some competition before the Olympics so that they can regain their confidence,” he added.
Hailing from Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand, Jaspal Rana clinched a gold at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima the Men’s 25 metre centre fire pistol event, followed by three more at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, in the Men’s 25 metre standard pistol, centre fire pistol and centre fire pistol team events.
He also won a gold at the 1994 ISSF World Shooting Championships in Milan, and another one at the 1995 Asian Shooting Championships in Jakarta, in the standard pistol (juniors) and standard pistol events respectively.