Several para shooters in the country have reportedly started withdrawing from the various zonal shooting tournaments being orgainsed by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) after clarity given by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) that the event being conducted by the national shooting federation is “unauthorized”.
Para shooters in India, numbering in hundreds, had started registering on the NRAI online portal for the zonals beginning on August 16 but after PCI started giving clarity, they are planning to, or have withdrawn, from the NRAI competition.
Since NRAI had announced their zonal tournamnets earlier than PCI, many of the para shooters had already registered for the zonals after depositing an entry fee of Rs 1121.
The para shooters will instead compete in the 4th Zonal (North, South, East, West, Central) Para Shooting Championship for rifle, pistol and shotgun for both men and women in New Delhi from September 8 to 12 being organized by the Paralympic Committee of India.
Para shooters and the PCI are still unhappy with the treatment meted out to them by the NRAI in 2019 when it removed para shooting from all its tournaments, including State, Zonal, GV Mavlankar and National Championship, saying that it did not have the required infrastructure at shooting venues in states to cater to the special needs of par shooters.
Besides, para shooters feel it would be prudent to compete in tournaments organised by their own federation – the Paralympic Committee of India – which supported them when NRAI stopped entertaining them a few years back.
Moreover, the para shooters also feel that it is the PCI which has the coaches, experts and physiotherapists to take care of their special needs and that the NRAI might not be able to provide them with all these facilities.
The para shooters also feel that moving to a different administrative structure of the NRAI, which they are not used to for a very long time, might affect their performance ahead of major competitions like the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou and the 2024 Paris Paralympics next year.