The recent "double standards" of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) have left top shotgun shooters an agitated lot.
The reason for unrest is the NRAI’s persistence with the five shooters (in each event), who made it to the national squad for shotgun events after the Commonwealth Championships, and will continue to don national colours in the World Championship, Commonwealth and Asian Games.
The move is ironical given the shooters’ poor performance in the last two World Cups. Ask the NRAI and they point to the selection policy, which has been in force since March 13.
Under the new guidelines, only international scores are being considered for selection of the shotgun squad for the three mega-events in the competitve sport.
What this translates into is, irrespective of how well a shooter performs, he will never be eligible for a spot in the trials, and India squad, which will see only the five team-members (irrespective of how poorly they perform abroad) in action.
"Despite some of them scoring even less than the Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS), they (the five) have been selected by the NRAI and Sports Ministry for the World Cup in Italy next month," said a coach.
The step defies every possible logic as the NRAI has a different playing field for pistol and rifle shooters. After making modifications in the new policy, the NRAI has ensured that shooters, whether they figure in the national squad or not, get an equal opportunity to prove themselves.
Under this, open trials will be held for selection of the rifle and pistol team for the World Championship, scheduled in Munich in July, at Pune on June 10.
After the World Championship, another trial will be held for the Commonwealth and Asian Games and scores of the shooters, who compete in the World Championship, will be considered.
"If the NRAI has modified the new selection policy for pistol and rifle shooters, why can’t they do it for us," questioned a top shotgun shooter.
When contacted by HT, Avtar Singh Sethi, officiating president, NRAI, said, "We are holding a technical committee meeting on June 2 and we’ll decide on the selection policy for shotgun events."