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Asian surprise for shooters

It’s a “no-win” situation for shotgun shooters preparing for the Commonwealth Championships (CWS), scheduled to kick off at the Karni Singh Ranges from February 17.

other Updated: Feb 07, 2010 23:22 IST
Ajai Masand

It’s a “no-win” situation for shotgun shooters preparing for the Commonwealth Championships (CWS), scheduled to kick off at the Karni Singh Ranges from February 17. Days before the event gets going, the marksmen selected for the CWS have been burdened with the task of appearing for trials for the Asian Championships in Bangkok in March-April, bang in the middle of their training programme.

The move by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and the Sports Ministry to hold trials from Feb 8-12 has not gone down well with marksmen eyeing medals in the CWS, for whom it is a big ‘speed-breaker’.

A total of 48 male and female shotgun shooters - including those who do not stand even a whisker of a chance to make it to the national squad - will take the five-day trials.

“How can I train with an eye on CWS gold and the pressure to perform in the trials from tomorrow? I will have to peak twice in a span of 7-8 days,” said a frustrated double-trap shooter, Vikram Bhatnagar.

“Based on the trials last year, the team was selected for the CWS and the first two World Cups - in Acapulco, Mexico (March 1-10) and Beijing (April 16-25). The Asian Championships in Bangkok fall between the two World Cups - March 27-April 6,” said Bhatnagar, the reigning national champion.

In a letter to all the Sports Ministry joint secretaries and the NRAI, Bhatnagar said, “Your good office has already selected a team for competitions falling between February to April 25, 2010, and the Asian Championships in Bangkok fall in that tenure. It is natural justice that for all events falling in that tenure, we have the first right of participation.

“It is our sincere request that no further trials may be held and shooters already selected may be allowed to perform at their optimum without wasting their energy further,” said the letter also signed by CWS teammates.

Based on the trials last year, some top shooters including RVS Rathore, Ronjan Sodhi and Mansher Singh failed to make the cut for the CWS and the first two World Cups. They will participate in the trials from Monday onwards to stake claim to a national berth.

Sports Ministry’s joint secretary Prabir Krishn said, “We are not favouring anyone. We will consider the scores of the previous trials before selecting the team for the Asian Championships.” NRAI secretary Deep Bhatia said, “It’s a selection committee matter.”

Moraad Ali Khan, the government nominee and selection committee member, said. “The dates for the Asian Championships came late. So, we ordered the trial late. Those preparing for the CWS have the option to skip trials and have their CWS scores counted for Asian Championships. Moreover the NRAI list has not been ratified by the ministry.”