The turf war between the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), the national federation, and Paralympic Council of India (PCI), the governing body for para shooting in the country, refuses to cool down.
The two bodies have been sparring for a while for jurisdiction over the para shooters, and the latest PCI circular to para shooters is likely to trigger another round of hostilities.
As per the circular signed by PCI secretary general, Gursharan Singh, the body has advised that in order to be eligible for competitions under the World Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC), para shooters have to participate in zonal, national and selection trials conducted by the STC para shooting and PCI.
The circular goes on to state that the PCl is the only authorized federation in the country with mandate from WSPS and IPC to conduct para shooting events and send entries to WSPS and IPC-approved international competitions.
Sending out a stern warning to the para shooters, the circular states, “lf you are playing in any event or championship other than conducted by the Paralympic Committee of lndia, then your scores during the said championship/events will not be considered for any championship/events conducted by PCI at the national level or any WSPS-approved international competitions.”
Hitting out at the NRAI’s earlier communication inviting para shooters to participate in the zonal/GV Mavlankar Championship, and the 42nd North Zone Championship from August 16-24, the latest PCI circular makes it clear that the body is in no mood to back off.
“This is further to clear that all the recent circulars/intimations circulated by NRAI through their website or different social media groups are without taking any approval from the PCI. This act of creating confusion among the para shooters is condemned by the PCI and conducting para shooting events without our approval is unauthorised. lt is informed that all these competitions would be termed as invitational competitions and para shooters are permitted to participate for getting ‘Renowned Shot’ certificate only,” the circular states in its concluding remarks.
The NRAI had issued a letter on August 8 saying the Sports Ministry had asked it to restart para matches during its National Championships, to facilitate para shooters to “get their import permits for import of arms and ammunition which are essential for their training and competitions”.
“The Governing Body of NRAI approved the proposal of re-starting para category in its all competitions at State/Pre National and National championship,” NRAI had said in its statement.
NRAI senior vice president Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo had said in a statement that, “The NRAI is open to any discussion with PCI on conduct of para category matches and will incorporate any suggestion of PCI to facilitate para shooters and para shooting sport.”