It’s just 60 days to the Commonwealth Games but Indian shooters don’t have the rifles to train for the full-bore event, which is a medal sport in the Games.
The absence of rifles has ruled out the possibility of holding coaching camps, which not only translates into distant medal hopes, the hosts’ participation too is uncertain.
The current mess is despite the country having spent around Rs 40 crore towards constructing a full-bore range at Kadarpur village in Gurgaon. Incidentally, the range suffered damage in the recent showers.
“What’s the point in spending crores on a full-bore range when we don’t even have rifles,” asked one of the eight core-group shooters for the event.
Their plight can be gauged from the fact that rifles had to be borrowed from foreign competitors during the Commonwealth Shooting Championship.
“The government has placed an order for the rifles and we’ll be getting them soon. What we are concerned about is training, as the shooters will have to compete in the Games with their rifles,” a Sports Ministry official had told HT during the Commonwealth Championship.
More than three months have lapsed and the rifles haven’t arrived. A source in the Ministry confirmed that an order for the rifles was yet to be placed. “We haven’t got the rifles, so forget about training,” said Avtar Singh Sethi, working president, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
“There are two medals at stake in the Commonwealth Games and God only knows if we will get to compete. Being the hosts, it is shameful,” said another NRAI official.
“The NRAI had asked for 12 rifles, which was reduced eventually to 4 by the government,” said a Ministry source.
To make matters worse, Beret Browden, the Australian coach for big and full-bore, is yet to arrive.