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Time running out, shooters yet to get into Olympic mode, says Jaspal Rana

Jaspal Rana thinks Indian shooters are not on the right track to do well at major events like Olympics

other sports Updated: Nov 01, 2017 22:39 IST
Jaspal Rana,Shooting,Vijay Kumar
Jaspal Rana is concerned about Indian shooters’ preparation for Olympics.(Getty Images for DAGOC)

The shooting discipline has fetched India medals in three consecutive Olympic Games. If shotgun shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore claimed silver at the 2004 Athens Games, rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra rose to the occasion at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to become country’s first individual gold medallist. (India vs New Zealand, 1st T20 - HIGHLIGHTS)

And the duo of Vijay Kumar (silver in 25m rapid fire) and Gagan Narang (bronze in 10m air rifle) continued the run at the 2012 London Games.

However, Indian shooters drew blank at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Though the sports ministry has high hopes from the sport at the 2020 Tokyo Games, India’s ace pistol shooter Jaspal Rana thinks the athletes are not on the right track at the moment.

READ | Shahzar Rizvi, Pooja Ghatkar win gold at Commonwealth Shooting Championships

“In my opinion, the top shooters aren’t in Olympic mode. It’s not just about winning a quota place, it’s about the right preparation and peaking at the right time,” Rana told Hindustan Times.

At the Rio Olympics, the 12-member shooting team was off target. The World Shooting Championship at Changwon in August, 2018, will be the first competition to offer quota places for Tokyo. Rana feels it will reflect the preparations. “With time running out, it will be a big challenge,” said the coach of the junior national team.

According to the former Asian Games champion, lack of a concrete plan at the state or district levels is bound to dilute the national camp. “After a few years one odd champion like Abhinav Bindra will come to light. But under current circumstances, churning medal winners at every Olympic Games looks unlikely,” he added.

READ | India continue strong show in Commonwealth Shooting Championship, win two gold

Coaching pattern

The multiple medal winner at the continental level also said there is an urgent need to address coaching at the grassroots level. “A kindergarten teacher can’t give lessons to a college student. Similarly, guiding an athlete to win medal at national or international tournaments needs experienced coaches. The national federation should frame a policy for this,” Rana told Hindustan Times.

Rana said the first step is to make state units accountable. “The numbers (of competitors at national and state level events) are growing but there is no structure in place to scout the talent at grassroots,” he said.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 22:10 IST