Indian skeet shooter Angad Vir Singh Bajwa’s Olympic preparation has a distinctive feel about it. Currently based in Italy, Bajwa has been “receiving his lessons remotely” from his foreign coach in Norway, Tore Brovold, while training alongside members of Kuwait and Qatar national teams in the northern Italian town of Lonato. It is quite different from the programme charted for the rest of his Tokyo-bound compatriots, who are being trained together by a handful of coaches at the same venue in Zagreb, Croatia.

Mairaj Ahmad Khan, who is going to shoot alongside Bajwa in the skeet men’s skeet event in Tokyo, is in his final stretch of preparations in another Italian town under longtime coach Ennio Falco.

“Angad is receiving his coaching lessons from Tore Brovold remotely. And he has been practising alongside shooters from Qatar and Kuwait,” a National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) source told PTI on Friday.

“They were training together under Ennio Falco but Angad came over to Lonato after both of them got their vaccine shots in Croatia. I think his coach wanted him to train in Lonato,” he added.

An accomplished shooter, Norwegian Brovold won the silver medal in the Beijing Olympics and gold in the prestigious ISSF World Cup Final in the same year. Bajwa, who has a shotgun range at home and had tried his hand in pistol shooting before switching to skeet, has been constantly in touch with his coach via video calling during the COVID-induced lockdown last year too, something that has helped him become better after the pandemic delayed the Games by a year.

Both Bajwa and Mairaj drove all the way from their training base in Montecatini, Italy to Zagreb to get jabbed last Thursday. Training in Italy for the upcoming Tokyo Games, both the Indian skeet shooters skipped the ISSF World Cup in Osijek, Croatia on the insistence of Falco, but decided to undertake a journey of over 1000 km across the European continent to get themselves vaccinated.

After Falco advised the skeet shooters against competing in the World Cup in Osijek, and to remain in Italy, the NRAI became aware that it was not going to be easy to get the two shooters vaccinated because of the Italian government policy against inoculating foreigners.

Promoted

However, thanks to the effort of Sports Authority of India, NRAI and Croatia’s top marksman Peter Gorsa, the two shooters got their jabs in Zagreb without much ado. Bajwa holds the world record in skeet with 60 out of 60, achieved at the Asian Shotgun Championships in Kuwait, in 2018.

He shot another 60/60 next year, in New Delhi, to get the better of Mairaj on way to defending his Nationals crown.

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