The 'Rudrapur conclave' on Sunday will decide which shooter will get the London Olympic Games ticket and who will miss out. After an interminable delay in announcing the squad, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) top bosses will undertake a five-hour journey to the foothills of Uttarakhand early in the morning to announce the squad.
The plan to announce the squad in Rudrapur could be to keep the prying media away, but a top NRAI official said that since the federation president, Raninder Singh, has no time to come to Delhi even for such a pressing matter, the selection committee members were going to Rudrapur.But it's certain that the men's 50m rifle three-position marksman, Army's Imran Hasan Khan, who bagged the Olympic quota for the country, will be eased out and his slot given to either Athens Olympic silver-medallist, double-trap shooter RVS Rathore, or air pistol markswoman Heena Sidhu, depending on which quota the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) is willing to swap.
In the event of the ISSF not acceding to NRAI's request, Imran could still be left out as India has already reserved a maximum two slots in the category - that of Gagan Narang and Sanjeev Rajput who are higher ranked than Imran and have qualified for the Games.
Rathore looks quite certain to board the flight as despite not doing well in the National championships and the trials recently, his employers, the Army, are reportedly building pressure on the NRAI to replace one army man with another.
"It's always uneasy to tell someone that he would not go, but we might have to break the news to Imran tomorrow," coach Sunny Thomas said. "Based on current form - and we will not compromise on that - Imran will have to make way for someone," said Thomas.
The men's rifle prone shooter, Hariom Singh, who earned a quote at the 2010 World Championships in Munich, will most likely have to give it to either Joydeep Karmakar or Sushil Ghaley as both are ranked higher than him score-wise. "Yes, that too is more or less certain," said Thomas. Kolkata's Karmakar stands a better chance as he is ranked on top.
The women's sports pistol category too is generating heat as Anisa Sayeed is crying foul that Rahi Sarnobat - who earned the Olympic quota - is being favoured by altering the selection norms at the last minute, while, based on current form, the former should get the ticket.
An NRAI coach said on condition of anonymity that the last-minute changes in the policy were made to suit Rahi and "99 per cent she will board the flight to London".