On a day when the various agencies threw a security blanket around the Karni Singh Shooting Ranges, there was nothing but hardships for the shotgun shooters and coaches, with even the Italian shotgun coach, Marcello Dradi, being denied entry into the Commonwealth Games venue.
Even as the national camp, which got underway on September 13 entered its fag end with just two days for its conclusion, the shotgun squad for the CWG left stranded outside the shooting range for more than two hours, was given entry only after they ran to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) office and fetched their admission cards.
An NRAI official, DK Shukla, had collected their admission cards from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) office on Monday but did not inform the shooters about it, leading to an embarrassing situation. The shooters spent two hours at the gate pleading with the security officials and only managing to deposit their guns in the armoury.
Incidentally, Shukla is the same person who was removed from the core group of coaches for the CWG by the Sports Ministry after an unsavoury incident at the range, which could have led to a serious injury to shooters during the Commonwealth Shooting Championships in February .
But strangely, the NRAI has pushed his case and again included him as coach through the back door.
“He has been included as coach but will go nowhere near the ranges. His duty will be to facilitate shooters at the Games Village,” said NRAI acting president Avtar Singh Sethi.
“We were not allowed to enter the range today as the authorities concerned have not made our accreditation cards yet,” said Dradi. Another core group coach, Brij Bhan Singh said, “Though the cards have been issued to the shooters, we will have to wait for another few days to enter the range as no one has bothered to get us accreditations. “Earlier we could enter the venue with ‘bump in’ passes, but today we were stopped at the gate. What will the shooters do without us?” he said.
To add to the shotgun shooters’ woes, a misunderstanding between the range administrator Manmeet Singh Goindi and the Organising Committee has led to the ‘bird party’ --- which tops up the clay pigeon machines --- not being formed till date.
“Some 20-odd workers are required to do the job, but with the security so tight now, they cannot enter without accreditation. It’s unlikely the shooters will be able to train in the coming two days,” said an OC official.