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DU meting out raw deal to shotgun shooters

Despite doing the country proud in international tournaments, the one thing a host of these young shotgun shooters - trap, double-trap and skeet - might miss out on is a berth in one of the top Delhi University colleges, reports Ajai Masand.

other Updated: Jun 07, 2009 01:36 IST
Ajai Masand

Delhi University, it seems, doesn’t want to fall into this ‘trap’.

Despite doing the country proud in international tournaments, the one thing a host of these young shotgun shooters --- trap, double-trap and skeet - might miss out on is a berth in one of the top Delhi University (DU) colleges.

Reason? Most of these colleges have an ‘unwritten’ rule of not entertaining shotgun, 25m and 50m shooters, as their ranges are of the basic 10m types.

There are more than a handful of shotgun marksmen who are running from one private shooting range to the other to hone their 10m pistol or rifle skills in order gain admission under the sports quota.

“Yes, for the last few years, we have been seeing quite a few shotgun shooters take a crash course in air pistol and air rifle,” said Shimon Sharif who runs a coaching academy, TopGun.

“Who will make these officials understand that shotgun and 10m rifle are like chalk and cheese,” said a young trap shooter. “It’s like asking 100m athletes to prove themselves in marathon,” he added.

“This discrimination has been going on for the last few years. Shotgun shooters undergo a crash course in air rifle or air pistol to compete in the trials and invariably lose out to regular pistol and rifle shooters,” said another trap shooter. “I have no idea about air rifle nor do I possess one. I’ll probably borrow one and try my hand,” he said.

Interestingly, some of the best shotgun shooters in the world, like world record holder Ronjan Sodhi, Olympian Mansher Singh, are from prestigious DU colleges.

Delhi University’s director of sports, JP Naruka, said he was unaware of such discrimination. “All Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Delhi University and Association of Indian Universities-recognised disciplines should be allowed under the sports quota,” he said, adding, “If someone has won an international medal, he/she should get preference.”

But the ground reality is different. MP Sharma, sports director, Hanraj College, conceded that shotgun shooters were facing problems getting admission. “A lot of colleges don’t entertain them. Their loss is my college’s gain. Hansraj is the only institution that gives preference to performance. We’ve got top international-level shotgun marksmen,” he said.