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Asian Games 2018: India miss chance to add to shooting tally by ignoring running target event

The Men’s 10m Running Target event had 13 entries from seven countries in the event at Jakarta with Youjin Jeong of Korea taking gold.

asian games 2018 Updated: Aug 24, 2018 22:19 IST
Shimon Sharif/Navneet Singh
Shimon Sharif/Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
asian games,asian games 2018,shooting
Image for representation only.(PTI)

Indian shooters are winning medals in almost all events at the 2018 Asian Games, but there was no challenge in the Men’s 10m Running Target event on Friday, which means India missed an opportunity to add to its medals tally.

Even though it is an International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF)-recognised event and features even in the upcoming World Championships in Korea, it has been completely ignored by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).

There were 13 entries from seven countries in the event at Jakarta with Youjin Jeong of Korea taking gold. Given the fact that Indian air rifle shooters are exceptionally good, some of them could have moved to running target which -- though not an Olympic event anymore -- is still part of the Asian Games.

Back in 2007, India’s Hungarian coach Laszlo Szucsak had tried to push this event but the authorities did not show any interest. Once Laszlo’s contract with the Indian shooting team got over, the event was dead and buried.

The apathy is evident from the fact that NRAI does not hold state or national-level competitions for the running target event. Former national coach Sunny Thomas feels because of this not many shooters are keen on taking it up.

Rajeev Bhatia, secretary of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) admits there are no ranges and no national competitions for this discipline in the country.

The interesting part is that SAI had imported two sets of state-of-the-art running target machines in 1988 from Switzerland which were worth 50,687 Swiss Francs but they never became operational. Later, both the machines were left to rot at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range for many years and now they are no longer visible there.

A Sports Authority of India (SAI) official who was involved in the procurement of equipment said it was tested and put to use for a short period of time but due to lack of interest it was discontinued. “Since the event was not included in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the equipment was not put to use,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Bhatia, however, feels the event has no future at world level. “It’s not a regular event at the Asian Games. It might not feature even at World Championships in future due to fewer entries.”

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 20:22 IST