The national shooting and archery federations are upset at foreign experts being appointed as sports managers for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and are letting it show.
Barely has the sports manager for shooting, Graeme Hudson, begun work that the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is up in arms against the New Zealander. The association even claimed Hudson’s appointment could hurt the medal prospects of India — the Commonwealth leader in this discipline — by giving opponents a preview into preparations.
Sources said the NRAI is planning to send a letter to the Delhi Commonwealth Games organising committee asking it to reverse the decision. NRAI secretary-general Baljeet Singh Sethi said it was “wrong” to appoint a foreign expert without “consultation”.
China’s Zhang Xiuhu, the sports manager for archery, is also due in the Capital next month and she too could face stiff resistance. “We are a country of one billion people and have enough expert hands to do the job…,” said Archery Association of India (AAI) president VK Malhotra.
“These foreign experts are getting thousands of dollars, free accommodation and cars… Our people, who are equally competent at managing venues and making preparations, are being sidelined,” said Avtar Singh Sethi, the senior vice-president and former secretary-general of the NRAI.
“We have organised the Asian Games, three World Cups and Commonwealth Shooting, which attracted more than 1,000 participants, and the Commonwealth Youth Games. Now, we are being told that we lack technical and managerial skills,” Avtar Singh said.
“We are the Commonwealth leaders in shooting, having bagged the honours in Manchester and Melbourne. Why should our rivals be given a preview into our preparations?” Avtar asked. The federation felt his interference in each and every range where players are training will affect their preparation. NRAI secretary-general Baljeet Singh Sethi also criticised the appointment.
Avtar Singh was also critical of Hudson's suggestions. “During our meeting with Hudson on Thursday, we were told about aspects which would send the shooting budget soaring. He wants to experiment with moving targets at the big bore range…that would send the cost skyrocketing… Nowhere in the world do they have moving targets in big bore,” he said.
However, Mike Hooper, Commonwealth Games Federation CEO, said it was an agreement between them and the organising committee to get on board sports managers, technical delegates and competition managers. “Hudson enjoys a good relation with the international shooting fraternity. The concern of the federation is unfounded. We hope to get their cooperation if we have to move forward,” Hooper said.
ASV Prasad, the organising committee’s additional director-general, refused to comment when asked about the remuneration of foreign experts.