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Don’t flog top shooters, streamline criteria

The flawed selection process of the National Rifle Association of India, highlighted by the Hindustan Times, has not just distressed a certain Abhinav Bindra or a Suma Shirur.

other Updated: Jan 17, 2010 00:33 IST

The flawed selection process of the National Rifle Association of India, highlighted by the Hindustan Times, has not just distressed a certain Abhinav Bindra or a Suma Shirur.

While many top shooters were not willing to come on record, double-trap marksman and world record holder, Ronjan Sodhi, said, “Things need to change”.

“If someone like me, who has made it to six of the seven finals of top international competitions last year cannot find a place in the national side for the Commonwealth Championships —to be held in Delhi from February 17— then there is something wrong here.

“My scores have never dropped below 141/150 in 2009 and I have been the most consistent in the last three years, winning a World Cup gold in Belgrade with a world record and making it to the showpiece event, the World Cup Finals, for three consecutive years. But I am still out,” said Sodhi from Italy, where he is undergoing training.

“If they (federation) include me in the team now, I will fly back but if they don't I will continue training. In international competitions, we are used to a particular routine where we have to shoot in back-to-back events. Then, we are asked to come for trials. We could be jet-lagged, not feeling well or simply tired but we have to shoot. Weight-age should be given to international performance. How many times do I need to prove myself?”

But he doesn't agree with Bindra's comment about quitting the sport in frustration. “I don't think such big decisions should be taken in haste. You have given all these years to the sport, so why do you want to fritter it away? Such things can be sorted out by sitting with federation officials. I'm sure the federation will listen and find a way out.”

Veteran trap shooter, Mansher Singh, who has been to four Olympic Games and is still the best in the business said, “Don't flog your top shooters. If Bindra has proved himself, he is the one to be beaten and not the one to beat others to prove himself. He is our best hope. Abhinav is training abroad for bigger goals and here you are calling him for trials. You are doing the country injustice by denying him a spot,” said Singh.

“Even as we get into the Commonwealth Games mode, we don't know what is the selection process. By this time, the federation should have sent letters and spelt out the criteria,” said the Delhi marksman.