Asian Games: Indian shooters take pot shots at each other
After pistol marksman Jitu Rai's maiden Asian Games gold, India's indifferent performance at the shooting arena has had a devastating effect on the morale of the shooters. Harmony and camaraderie is being replaced by pent-up anger.other Updated: Sep 25, 2014 06:52 IST
After pistol marksman Jitu Rai's maiden Asian Games gold, India's indifferent performance at the shooting arena has had a devastating effect on the morale of the shooters. Harmony and camaraderie is being replaced by pent-up anger.
Rapid-fire shooter Harpreet Singh went ballistic when asked about India missing out on a team bronze by the slightest of margins. "What can you do when the senior-most member of the (rapid-fire) team comes up with the lowest score in the event? How can the team win," asked Harpreet after India lost the fight for bronze to Vietnam, who won only because they had more 'inner 10s' (41) as compared to India's 39. Both teams were tied for third with 1704 points each and the judges applied the 'inner 10s' rule to select the bronze-medallist.
Harpreet's ire was against Pemba Tamang, the senior-most member of the rapid-fire team and winner of silver at the 2006 CWG in Melbourne.
"He was the first to finish his routine and scored just 556. This brought a lot of pressure on me to bring the team back into medal contention. But you will understand that no cricketer however good he is can win a match if he comes with just a couple of overs left and a mountain to climb. That too if he is facing a bowler of the calibre of Shoaib Akhtar or Brett Lee, who send down missiles at 160kmph," added Harpreet, who shot a 578 in trying conditions.
The third member of the team Gurpreet Singh shot a 570. "Naturally, I came under tremendous pressure... the most experienced shooter let us down," Harpreet said.
A senior coach questioned the credentials of foreign coaches training the India squad. "There are three foreign trainers who are being paid mind-boggling sums to train our shooters and this is what they are delivering," he said on condition of anonymity.
He was referring to the dismal performance of the 50m rifle prone team, comprising Tejaswini Muley, Lajja Gauswami and Raj Chaudhary, which finished 11th with an aggregate of 1837.1. None of the girls could make the finals.
"It's tantamount to racism when you give them thousands of dollars and deny even qualified national coaches like us our due," he said.
Coaches and players spoke in hushed tones at the Ongnyeon International Range about non-performers being shown the door, but none wanted to go on record.
Pistol coach Mohinder Lal, who too seemed to have been shocked by the performance of coaches, however added, "There is no way to show non-performing shooters the exit. They come after a series of qualification rounds and trials and if they don't perform on the big stage we can't do anything, because it is their right to be in the squad. The best one can do is to give them better guidance so that they improve," said Lal.