New Delhi: The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is looking at the upcoming ISSF World Cup as a stepping stone to prepare a strong bid for hosting a qualifying event for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
NRAI president Raninder Singh today expressed optimism that a smooth conduct of the year's first World Cup -- a first for the country -- will go a long way in helping India make a bid for one of the Olympic quota events next year and the year after.
To be conducted at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore, the mega-tournament will be held at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range from February 22 to March 4.
"It's a way for us to showcase to the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) that we are very, very capable of hosting the tournament smoothly. Our target is to host a successful tournament so that we can build a bid for holding a quota event for the Tokyo Games," Raninder said.
Though the next World Championship in 2018 has already been allotted to Changwon, Korea, there will be quite a few other quota events, including World Cups and Asian Championships.
In the upcoming tournament, a total of 50 countries will be represented by 452 athletes and among them will be reigning and former Olympic champions, world champions and continental champions lining up against India's top guns.
Considering the magnitude of the event, the NRAI chief called it "historic in itself".
Speaking to the media at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, Raninder said, "The sport of Shooting has come a long way in the country and the ISSF World Cup, New Delhi, 2017 is certainly yet another inflexion point for the sport in the country. We warmly welcome all visiting athletes, officials and delegates. It is a proud moment for all our countrymen and we are confident that our athletes will give their very best to make the tricolour fly high.
"This would not have been possible without the proactive support of the Government, the Ministry of Sports and the Sports Authority of India and I wish to thank all of them for making this happen." .