India’s only Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra will be heading an independent inquiry which will be set up by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) in order to examine the reasons for the country’s shooters failing to win even a single medal at the Rio Olympic Games.
The shooting contingent had a total of 12 shooters in it which was the largest ever for the nation in the sport at the Olympic Games but only two of them could make the cut for the finals at the mega-event in Brazil..
Reports published by ESPN indicate that Bindra will be given an official intimation from the NRAI to take up the role as the head of the inquiry which will include the objectives and frames of reference of the panel. It is also reported that shooting’s apex body in India will announce its decision when the 33-year-old shooter will have given his nod for the job.
The shooter had gone to the Rio Olympics after having declared that he will be participating in his last Olympic Games and performed well in his only event where he missed the podium by finishing 4th in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event.
It has been reported that Bindra will also be assisted by an eminent sports administrator also some members of the media, which could help in analysing the right reasons for the Rio fiasco. Speaking on the issue, NRAI President Raninder Singh told ESPN that he is expecting the inquiry to be completed within the next 2-3 weeks but has also insisted that he will not be quitting the federation even though India failed to win a medal in shooting for the first time since the 2000 Olympics.
Singh said, “I am absolutely astounded that we are going back empty handed. Based on data, watching my athletes prepare and their performances in the build up including the last World Cup a month ago, I was absolutely convinced we should have won three medals. It is a big setback for me and the federation but that doesn’t mean you sweep it under the carpet and don’t deal with it head on.”He also took up the responsibility for the bad results saying, “My sport is the only one at the Olympics where we’ve had so many athletes get so close to getting into finals or actually getting into them. It is not an excuse for not winning medals but you have to see the role of an administrator separately from the role of an athlete. I have taken responsibility for it but I see no reason to be unceremoniously told to march off into the wilderness. I think I can serve my sport better if I use my experience of what I’ve seen and learnt over here and after interacting with my athletes and coaches.”
The boss of the apex body also mentioned that there were debutants in his contingent but that does not mean that bad results will be accepted. He said, “Eight members of our team were first timers, it was a young team. There are people who have not performed also, I am not going to vilify people by taking names but I know who they are, we are going to look into everything. In case of Jitu, I am completely convinced that he misread the wind. In most cases of our athletes we have had a petering out in the last series. This obviously means that there are deficiencies that our athletes have come into the Games with. One is endurance, both mental and technical. It is difficult to quantify this but yes endurance is an issue we have to look into.
“There are other reasons also for the disappointment in Rio which includes athletes training under different coaches throughout the year and some athletes have also indicated that the funding for their game to improve has not been there.
However, with the best shooter from India taking up the inquiry in his hands, the reasons will finally be revealed as Bindra is not known to keep quiet when his words matter the most. India’s shooting scenario has faced a low point after Rio, but it is up to Bindra now to bring it back to the top with his expertise.