Four junior trap shooters were disqualified in the ongoing nationals at Jaipur for using ammunition not conforming to specifications by the ISSF, the sport’s world governing body.
Pragati Dubey, Manisha Keer, representing Madhya Pradesh, and Shefali Rajak were barred from shooting in the final. As a result, the final had only three shooters.
The fourth girl, Kirti Gupta, who was representing Delhi, was disqualified in the qualification round. Delhi’s Soumya Gupta won gold with 11 hits, one more than the second-placed Sanjeet Kaur Rehal. Tamil Nadu’s N Nivetha finished third.
ISSF rules stipulate that the cartridge must not exceed 24.5 grams in weight and its pellets must not exceed 2.6 millimeter in diameter. During inspection, the pellets derived from the cartridges failed to pass through a sieve acquired by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to check specifications.
Barred in the junior category, Manisha and Pragati were allowed to shoot in the seniors with changed ammunition.
Manisha won bronze behind Army’s Seema Tomar, who won gold, and ONGC’s Shagun Chowdhury. The MP team of Anam Basit, Pragati and Manisha won the team gold.
NRAI president Raninder Singh said the girls were not at fault. “As we are an affiliate of the ISSF, we have to follow rules. I don’t think there was any malice on their (girls) part to get advantage. They are 15-16 years of age and I don’t think it was done deliberately,” he told HT.
He added a report on the manufacturer would be sent to the ISSF and the qualification scores of the disqualified would stand.
Mansher Singh, who mentored the girls from MP, was unhappy with the way the situation was handled. “Why should the girls suffer because of the manufacturer’s fault? You can’t tamper with the cartridges to check specifications because you will be found out and could face a sanction. You trust the manufacturer to get it right. Most of the pellets passed through the sieve, only those that were oval got stuck,” he said.