Shotgun shooting is considered a sport of the elite. And the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is happy to keep it that way.
In another case of appeasing the influential, the NRAI has awarded a wildcard entry for the National championship to a shooter who could not even achieve the minimum qualifying score (MQS) in the pre-nationals.
The shooting body gave direct entry to the son of Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner SR Ladhar, Keshav Krishna Ladhar, for the skeet event at the ongoing Nationals despite the boy faring miserably at the qualifying event — the GV Mavlankar Championship.
According to NRAI’s rule No. 16.15, the state body should be penalised Rs 3000 if a marksman shoots less than 22 out of 50 in skeet.
But rather than punishing, it has rewarded Keshav with a place in the nationals. The youngster had scored just 19, when the qualifying score in the junior skeet category is 30/50.
And despite being given a chance to prove himself at the nationals, he did not fare too well. He shot a lowly 51/125.
“The federation has not issued the wildcard to the said shooter,” NRAI secretary-general, Baljit Singh Sethi told HT.
“Now that it has been brought to our notice, I will definitely check it out. Perhaps, the organisers have given him the wildcard.”
However, it is common knowledge that every wildcard has to be first cleared by the national federation.
Keshav had sought to explain his poor qualifying score by saying that his weapon was not up to the mark on that particular day. But at the nationals, he shot with a gun of his own choice and there too his score percentage is 40% (51 out of 125), almost identical to his score at Mavlankar 38 % (19 out of 50).