NRAI notice to Swiss gun-maker after criticism by owner
NRAI has issued a showcause notice to Francesco Repich, owner of the Swiss gun manufacturing company, Morini, for his critical comments on the performances of Indian shooters in Tokyo and on Sunday’s weapon malfunction that marred Bhaker’s elimination in air pistol. Bhaker shoots with a Morini pistol.
Following the notice, Repich has removed his comments on Facebook. The posts have left Indian shooting officials and Ronak Pandit, Bhaker’s coach who salvaged the situation by quickly repairing her weapon to resume shooting, annoyed. The teenager remarkably fought back despite losing time and only failed to make the final on her last shot.
Repich’s facebook post on July 24, after India’s other pistol prodigy Saurabh Chaudhary topped qualification to enter the eight-shooter final but finished seventh, read: “If you want to know how to destroy a potential gold medal team, please call Indian shooting federation. They are going to advise you.”
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After Bhaker’s gun malfunctioned during the 10m air pistol qualification stage, Repich posted that he spoke to a judge of the event at the Asaka Shooting Range and that he was surprised that the weapon was not taken to the company’s repair area instead of Pandit fixing it himself. Pandit, a former pistol shooter who has also coached his wife, Heena Sidhu, a former world No.1 pistol shooter, used parts from his ward’s replacement weapon. She resumed shooting after a break of around 14 minutes.
“Who is he? What is his intention? Why is he giving such posts every day? Is it to disturb the Indian contingent?” Pandit said.
He pointed out that going to the Swiss pistol-maker’s repair area meant Bhaker, in her competition shoes, shooting in an air-conditioned hall and required to keep heart rate under check, would have had to step into the harsh sun and walk more than a 100 metres.
“We went by the rules as far as gun malfunction was concerned,” Pandit said. “We took the right decision.”
Repich also claimed in his post that Bhaker had not asked for sighting shots (to check the weapon after repairs).
“We had asked for sighters but officials were taking time to put the sighters on screen, so we had to start because time was running out,” Pandit said.
A technical official at the range confirmed that the Indian team had asked for sighters.