The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has disqualified two Punjab shooters, Darshpreet and Avtar Singh, for cheating during the 10m air-pistol event at the National Shooting Championship in Jalandhar.
Both the air pistol shooters were charged for having fired the shots on their allotted targets before the actual day of competition.
The record cards, as the targets are called, are kept in custody with the serial number of the respective shooters on them.
On the eve of the competition, both Darshpreet and Avtar had got hold of the record cards with the serial numbers allotted to them.
They then fired shots at them supposedly from close range, hitting most on target, before keeping the records back.
On the day of the competition however, the NRAI officials deputed at the range caught both the shooters in their allotted lanes with more than half of the 60 issued record cards, already fired.
This was just before their competition. The matter was taken to NRAI even as both were issued fresh record cards to shoot.
Avtar, who was a finalist in the last nationals, completed his match and scored 560/600, while Darshpreet left the match after taking just 20 shots.
Later, the two were disqualified and given no points.
K.S. Sidhu, secretary general of the Punjab Rifle Shooting Association (PRSA), said, “Both the shooters have been disqualified for using unfair means. Being hosts, we should have ensured fair play but our own shooters have let us down.”
Both the shooters have been disqualified and the final decision on the quantum of punishment will be taken once NRAI's next governing body meeting takes place.
“We were informed by a shooter that both Darshpreet and Avatar had used cards for the competition. During the official 10-minute preparation time officials caught them red-handed,” said a senior NRAI official.
The fact that the two could access the room where the record cards are kept shows how badly these National Championships are being conducted. The Punjab Rifle Shooting Association got the national championship allotted to Punjab Armed Police (PAP), Jalandhar.
“The state association is not at all involved in the conduct of the national championship at Jalandhar. “So I can't comment how the shooters managed to get the targets before the match,” said Sidhu. The shooters, who are employed by Punjab Police, have been suspended and a departmental inquiry has also been marked.
“Without the involvement of officials, the players couldn’t have the access to the targets before the game,” said an NRAI official.