Indian shooters deserted by coach before World Championship

Indian shooters deserted by coach before World Championship

  
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Shreyasi Singh

indianshooting.com EXCLUSIVE: Those who are lamenting Indian shooters’ poor show at the Rio Olympic Games, here’s another bit of news that might dishearten you further. The ISSF World Shotgun Championship in Moscow are round the corner and the Indian trap and double trap team is training without their long-time foreign coach Marcello Dradi.

More surprisingly, even the national coach was missing on the first two days of the five-day preparatory camp which began on Monday at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi.

It is also learnt that shooters were not even issued the required ammunition for training on the first day of the camp.

While no news is forthcoming when Dradi will join the camp — there are rumours that he might even fly to Russia directly – what is certain is that the shotgun shooters are not getting the right kind of attention and, more often than not, are relying on instincts and experience to ‘negotiate’ the camp and get ready for the prestigious event, which takes place every two years.

In the wake of the Rio debacle, where only badminton player PV Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik could bring home medals apart from the spectacular effort from Dipa Karmakar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the formation of a task force for the improvement of India’s performance in various sports disciplines and it is reliably learnt that shooting will get the pride of place considering that four medals at the Olympic Games have been bagged by shooters — Rajyavardhan Rathore (Double Trap silver), Abhinav Bindra (10m Air Rifle gold), Vijay Kumar (25m Rapid Fire Pistol silver) and Gagan Narang (10m Air Rifle bronze). And many more Indians have come agonizingly close to winning medals at the Olympics.

But going by the way foreign – and even national coaches – are taking things even before an event of the magnitude of the World Shotgun Championship, one can safely say that complacency has crept in among the concerned organisations that run and manage the sport in India.

The coach plays a key role in the preparation of sportspersons right from their training regime to fine-tuning their technique as per the situation and surroundings, but in this case, there is no one to fine-tune the technique of the shotgun shooters who are simply shooting in the dark, if one could put it in a matter of fact way.

Besides, the Indian team will have hardly any time to acclimatize to the cold climate of Moscow given that they will travel to the Russian capital only on August 28, which will leave them barely two days to settle down and prepare for the championship.

There is a lot of hope from the 30-member Indian team which has been performing consistently over the last six months, with Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Kynan Chenai, Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Shreyasi Singh and World Cup gold medallist Ankur Mittal all in good form. A total number of 633 shooters from 73 nations will be participating in the 10-day competition.

The competition in the World Championship will be very strong and hence a good training and travel plan was well needed. With less than three years for the biggest test, the Olympics, the shooting federation and the Sports Authority of India needs to seriously look into this ‘lapse’ and ensure it doesn’t happen in future.

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