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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

Coaching to blame for trap shooters’ poor show: Manav

So far, India have won 15 quota places, including two in men’s skeet. The remaining are in the rifle and pistol events.

other-sports Updated: Nov 23, 2019 10:38 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
New Delhi
Manavjit Singh Sandhu.
Manavjit Singh Sandhu.(REUTERS)

Former world champion in trap, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, has blamed the coaching system for the trap team missing out on a 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth, At the recent Asian Championships in Doha, the last qualification event for the Games, the trap shooters return empty handed.

So far, India have won 15 quota places, including two in men’s skeet. The remaining are in the rifle and pistol events.

After retaining his trap title in a tense 50-shot final at the 63rd National Shotgun Shooting Championships in the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges on Friday, Sandhu had to face questions on the below-par performance in Doha.

Sandhu, who had qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics with Kynan Chenai, said: “It’s not good to point fingers at players. We are working hard and will continue to do so. The coaches and officials should also be held responsible.”

Sandhu, who won his 12th national title, said he wasn’t satisfied with the change in coaching system with the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) appointing former international Mansher Singh as shotgun coach. “I’m not against (the appointment) but it’s not working and that’s worrying. The momentum gained is being lost and there should be an analysis into what went wrong.”

Mansher said he has been at the helm for a year and “it takes time to deliver”. Earlier this year, Mansher had said the top trap shooters could win a quota place in the season-ending continental championships at Doha, which hasn’t happened.

The trap shooters still have a chance to make it to Tokyo through the ranking system, which has been introduced for the first time. As per rules of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), shooters earn ranking points in World Cups and international events. At the end of May 2020, the cumulative points in each discipline will be displayed. In events where the national sports federation hasn’t got a quota, individual shooters can get direct entry if their ranking is good. The quota will be for the shooter and not for the country.

“The two World Cups in March will be important as a good performance will improve rankings and help shooters earn a ticket to the Olympics,” said Mansher.

Chenai, who finished third in the Nationals, said it was good to earn a quota place early and then focus on the main event. “It’s a waiting game now and will depend on my performance in the next season,” he said.

NRAI president Raninder Singh said he was hopeful that a trap shooter will qualify through the ranking system. Asked whether there was a possibility of a quota being swapped, he said “discussions will be held” as per the selection policy.

“In all likelihood there will be no change. But if we have a quota in some event where the shooter is No 14 in world ranking and may have got it because others have already got their quotas, then we have to see if we have a world rank 3 shooter in any other event where there is a possibility (of a medal), then maybe it will be better to swap. Also, if there is a situation where one can play in three-four events, will it be logical to shoot in four events in the Olympics and expect medals? All these things have to be discussed.”