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NRAI threatens to pull shooters out from Olympics

other Updated: Mar 27, 2008 22:47 IST

PTI
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The National Rifle Association of India today threatened that they will pull out shooters, the country's best bet at Olympics, from the Beijing Games, alleging a "shabby treatment" and a lackadaisical attitude by the government in procuring ammunition.

NRAI General Secretary Baljit Singh Sethi said he was disgusted at the attitude of the Sports Ministry and had "written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the shortage of ammunition".

"I don't think it will be worthwhile sending the shooters to the Olympics. The damage has been done. I will take up this issue in our General Body meeting next month," Sethi (rpt Sethi) said.

"It is a pity that shooters were the best medal hopes and they are treated so shabbily," he added.

As many as nine shooters, including Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and world champions Abhinav Bindra and Manavjit Singh, have qualified for the quadrennial sporting extravaganza to be held from August 8-24.

There is a serious crisis of ammunition, especially for air weapon users.

"For last 23 years, the government has been providing us with all the ammunitions, but suddenly I don't know what happened they have stopped doing so for the last two and half years. They informed us on December 13 that we have to apply for the import license," Sethi said on the sidelines of Indian Masters.

Sethi said even if the NRAI gets the license immediately, it would take at least three months for the ammunition to reach the shooters.

"Given the fact that this is an Olympic year, it is not easy to procure ammunition at short notice," he said.

Sethi wanted to know why the government, which had been importing ammunition for all these years, could not do it now.

"I think they have some internal problems, and trying to shift the blame on us," he said.

Sethi, however, said he was still hopeful of finding some way to import ammunition at the earliest when he meets the Sport Ministry officials.

"After so much hue and cry over this matter the Ministry have woken up and asked me to meet them... I hope that there will be some way out to import the pellets," he said.