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Shooting coach defends himself on selection issue

india Updated: Sep 18, 2010 22:28 IST
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Defending himself a day after the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) sought an explanation on favouring a shooter during the selection trials for the Asian Games, national coach Sunny Thomas said someone with vested interest is trying to malign him.

"Someone is trying to throw mud on my face. I know, in fact, everyone knows who is behind it," Thomas told PTI from Pune, where the shooters are preparing for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.

During the trials for selecting the air pistol candidate for the Guangzhou Games, International shooter Shweta Chaudhury, in violation of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) rules, was allowed to shoot 20 shots after a day's break because of weapon breakage.

This did not go down well with the NRAI, who promptly asked for an explanation from Thomas, but the shooting coach said "everything was done according to the rules".

"It was given in writing. And moreover, I did not make the decision alone. There were five others in the jury and there signatures were also taken. We had a long meeting before taking decision to give her a day," Thomas said.

"The match started at 10am and was scheduled to get over at 11.15 and the incident happened at 10.40. After that, the shooter along with one of the coaches went to her room to get another gun but, by the time she came back, she had exceeded the match duration of one hour and 15 minutes.

"The next day she took her remaining 20 shots in just 15 minutes as one are not entitled to get more than 15 minutes no matter how much time a shooter loses," Thomas explained.

"The federation just wanted to know what exactly had happened and did not seek any explanation from me. I have written to them about the incident," he said.

With an unused gun, Chaudhury scored 92 and 92 in the first and 92 and 94 in the second part to total 370 during the trial.