Shooter Mairaj set to drive to Croatia from Italy for vaccine shot

Driving on the European highways for more than 1,000 kilometres, from Capua towards the north of Italy, Slovenia and into Croatia, may serve as a pleasant change for the skeet shooter.

Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan training in Italy.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The long wait for vaccination will culminate with a long drive for skeet shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan.

After unsuccessful attempts to get vaccinated at his training base in Italy, Mairaj, who had missed the final of the last Olympics in the shoot-off in Rio, will drive from Italy to Croatia to get the vaccine shot.

Driving on the European highways for more than 1,000 kilometres, from Capua towards the north of Italy, Slovenia and into Croatia, may serve as a pleasant change from the rigours of training for the Olympics. A flight across the Adriatic Sea could help cut down the distance by half, but the two skeet shooters were unwilling to exercise that
option owing to the risk of catching the virus.

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On the bright side, there will be an advantage owing to the inordinate delay in vaccination, as Mairaj will take the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All other vaccines require two shots.

With the rifle and pistol shooters training in Zagreb, Croatia, it has been convenient for the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and the Union government to make arrangements for vaccination in Croatia. All attempts to get the vaccine shots arranged in Italy for the two shotgun marksmen had failed.

Mairaj is scheduled to get his vaccine shot on Thursday. He will stay in Croatia for a day, and then drive back to his base in Italy to continue his training with coach Ennio Falco.

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The skeet shooters have been able to get an extension for their visa in Italy to help them train there till they catch their flight to Tokyo for the Olympics.

Asian skeet champion Angad Vir Singh Bajwa who had taken his first dose of Covishield before he left for Europe on April 1, will have his second shot in Croatia on Thursday.

Both Mairaj and Angad had opted to skip the ongoing shooting World Cup in Osijek, Croatia, on the advice of their coach Falco, so as to focus fully on their training and preparation for the Olympics.

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