The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) seems to have misfired ahead of the new season. The list of coaches it had recommended for its panel of experts, to train the country's top shooters, has not been cleared by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
In October, the NRAI had picked four coaches each, including the chief coach in all three categories – pistol, rifle and shotgun – for the senior and junior groups to prepare the squad for international events this year.
However, SAI raised objections over the selection of the chief coaches as their credentials were under doubt. Despite several meetings between the NRAI and SAI, the deadlock persists.
Due to the delay, the national camp, which was supposed to commence from January 24, has been deferred to the third week of February.
SAI director general, Gopal Krishna, confirmed the development. "We haven't cleared the panel as we have suggested some changes," he told HT.
NRAI had appointed former international shooter Mohinder Lal as chief coach for pistol events in the senior group, while Kanwar Randhir Singh, a former official of Himachal Pradesh, was nominated as head of the rifle events. Both Mohinder and Randhir are involved in cases, which SAI has objected to.
NRAI president, Raninder Singh, said the issue had been sorted out. "SAI had suggested certain changes, that's all," he said.
Asked if the two chief coaches would be replaced if SAI stood its ground, his response was a 'no'. "Some of the complaints are politically motivated. We can't hang individuals for off-the-field issues."
Apart from this controversy, the NRAI chief also defended the selection of some obscure names for the coaches' panel. "Like players, coaches too are selected on merit. There is no nepotism," he said.
The annual calendar of training and competition (ACTC), according to him, would be reviewed in March. "Those who don't perform will be out of the panel," he said on giving a chance to fresh faces in the team.