The National Shooting Championship is country’s most prestigious domestic competition but with so many wild card entrants it is at a risk of losing it’s reputation. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has once again granted wild cards to many shooters for the National Championship, scheduled to commence in Thiruvananthapuram from December 11.
While the practice of granting wild cards has been going on since years, a record number of around 600 shooters, who had fallen short of the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) at qualifying events leading up to the National Championship last year, gained direct entry by paying Rs 5,000. The number of wild card entrants are not known this year as NRAI has not made the list public.
To qualify for the prestigious National Championship, a shooter has to achieve the Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) at either the Zonal Championships or the All India G.V. Mavlankar Shooting Championship. However, the NRAI began awarding wild cards to shooters who fell short of the MQS if they were willing to pay of Rs 5,000, thus rendering the qualifiers almost redundant.
The federation’s decision to award so many wild cards had resulted in a record number of entries (over 4,500) for the National Championship last year and resulted in utter chaos at the hosting venue. It had also reportedly not gone down well with many top shooters.
Referring to the huge number of wild cards distributed by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) for the 60th National Shooting Championship, former Olympic and World Champion Abhinav Bindra had tweeted then, “A championship which should be aspirational has sadly become a joke”.
Till last year the shooters could only apply for the wild cards through respective state rifle associations and direct requests were not considered by the NRAI but this time the federation accepted requests for wild cards directly from the shooters.
According to the NRAI website, “Shooters who wished to apply for wild card may send their requests to President NRAI giving valid reason. Shooters, who are granted wild card, will be informed by email.”
Last year a deposit of Rs 5,000 (refundable should they achieve the MQS) was taken from the wild card entrants whereas this time the fee is non refundable whether the shooters achieve the MQS or not.
“The President NRAI will have the sole authority for grant of wild cards which he can issue at his discretion without assigning any reason whatsoever. Apart from the usual entry fee the applicants who are granted wild card will have to pay a sum of Rs 5,000 which is non refundable whether they achieve MQS or not. It is requested that no wild card entries should be sent with normal entries. Separate request through EMAIL ONLY, addressed to the President NRAI, stating reason for requesting for grant wild card, should be sent to him for his consideration”. added the website.
On 29 November 2017 the NRAI announced, “The process of allotment is completed. All applicants who have been granted wild cards have been informed through email. No reply is being sent to shooters who have not been granted wild cards. No further communication will be entertained on status of allotment of wild card.”
Those who have got the wild cards will remain quiet for obvious reasons, but those who have not, will continue to grope in the dark for the reason behind the NRAI not entertaining their request.
The NRAI, otherwise known to be a transparent sport federation which in believes following eligibility criteria, could have been transparent in this matter also.