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NRAI’s new competition policy in place to avoid burnout of young shooters

Jaspal Rana, former international and junior team coach, says NRAI has a policy in place to only field young shooters in tournaments that matter.

other sports Updated: Mar 16, 2018 19:10 IST
Navneet Singh
Jaspal Rana, former international and junior team coach, says NRAI has a policy in place to only field young shooters in tournaments that matter. Image for representative purposes only.
Jaspal Rana, former international and junior team coach, says NRAI has a policy in place to only field young shooters in tournaments that matter. Image for representative purposes only. (Getty Images)

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has, in the past, failed to provide a comprehensive plan to nurture young talent. A classic example is of Navnath Fartade. The 2006 Junior World Champion in 10m air rifle failed to blossom at the senior level due to lack of proper planning on the part of the federation.

Things, however, seem to be changing.

Teenage pistol prodigies Anish Bhanwala and Manu Bhaker have shown remarkable skills at the senior level. So has rifle shooter Mehuli Ghosh. Mehuli and Manu returned with medals from the World Cup in Mexico.

Jaspal Rana, former international and junior team coach, says NRAI has a policy in place. “We will field shooters in competitions that matter. Even if budding shooters are competing simultaneously in both junior and senior international competitions, factors like time zone and long air travel are kept in mind before deciding participation,” he said.

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The Junior World Cup in rifle, pistol and shotgun will take place at Sydney from March 19 to 29. It will be followed by the Commonwealth Games starting April 4 at Gold Coast. According to Jaspal, since shooters will be traveling within Australia, it will not be taxing.

However, the national team shooters will skip the World Cup in Fort Benning, USA, starting May 7 and instead compete in senior and junior World Cup in Europe later that month.

“Shooters who have good scores at international events will be allowed to skip domestic selection trials,” Jaspal added.

Transition squad

The NRAI is also planning to constitute a ‘transition squad” to enable talented junior shooters to make the cut at senior level. “We will scout for four shooters in each discipline during the next national shooting championship. A total of 64 shooters will be picked to build a pool,” said Morad Ali Khan, a former international shooter and member of the NRAI selection panel.

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But junior shooters who are already in the national team will not be included in the squad. “Some of the shooters have already proved themselves. So we don’t need to put them in the transition squad,” he added.

NRAI president Raninder Singh said, “The momentum gained at the Mexico World Cup should be sustained throughout the season.”