Upcoming para-shooters are having a tough time trying to convince the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to give them wildcards for the National Shooting Championship to be held in the city of Bhopal from December 7 to January 4.
The NRAI had, during it’s governing body meeting a few months back, decided to exclude the para-shooters from all their competitions, saying since the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) was the parent body in the country, it should hold the competitions for the para-shooters. However, after the intervention of the Sports Ministry, the NRAI agreed to take para-shooters back in its fold.
But between the time the NRAI decided to exclude para-shooters from it’s programme and then make a U-turn and include them a couple of months later at the insistence of the ministry, qualification tournaments for the National Championship had already taken place and para-shooters could not compete in them.
This resulted in a huge number of para-shooters unable to qualify for this year’s National Championship and they are now seeking wildcards from the NRAI.
“The NRAI had initially excluded para-shooting from it’s domestic curriculum. But after we had a meeting with them, they decided to include the para-events in the upcoming National Championship at Bhopal. However, they have only allowed those shooters who are already qualified for the Nationals from the previous editions,” said the PCI technical committee chairman for shooting JP Nautiyal.
The PCI had sent a letter to NRAI requesting the shooting body to consider issuing an interim order for participation of para-shooters at the qualifying competitions for the National Championship – the Zonal and All India GV Mavalankar Shooting Championship – but it was too late by then and preparations for the two competitions had been finalized.
“Since there was no para-event included in any of the two qualifying competitions for the National Championship, the para-shooters should be given wildcards to enable them to compete in the Nationals at Bhopal,” said Nautiyal.
While para-shooters, who had competed and achieved the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) in the last year’s National Championship, are eligible to shoot in this year’s edition of the Nationals in Bhopal, upcoming para-shooters from all across country who did not participate or achieve the MQS in last year’s Nationals, cannot compete unless the NRAI gives them a wildcard.
“There are more than 130 para-shooters this year who have attained the required MQS at their respective state competitions but their scores won’t be counted for gaining entry to National Championship. There would be many more para-shooters in the country whose entire year has gone waste as barring a few state units, most of them did not include the para-events after NRAI had announced it’s decision to remove the para-events from it’s programme. Probably the state units did not want to annoy their parent body (NRAI),” says Nautiyal.
“I want NRAI to give us a clear picture of what they want to do about para-shooting. If they tell us that we will no longer include the para-events after this Nationals, then I can write to different ministries and try to get the same facilities which a ‘Renowned Shot’ is entitled to,” says Nautiyal.