India’s junior team pistol coach Jaspal Rana feels the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) will be better off not tinkering with the existing policies and programmes that brought the country a record 15 Olympic quotas.
The likes of Manu Bhakar, Chinki Yadav and Saurabh Chaudhary, who have all secured quotas for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, have prospered under the tutelage of the former pistol ace.
Seeking to protect them from exploitation and distractions in the run-up to next summer’s Games, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh said recently that the shooters will not be allowed to sign any new commercial deals without the federation’s permission and the parents will also have to sign a bond that no exploitation will be done for “financial gains“.
“I think this could have been done long time back. Right now even if there are shooters who are already contracted, who will give them the money. How do you expect them to come out of contracts before the time of their expiry?,” asked Jaspal.
Raninder also said the shooters, prior to the Olympics, will have to train in India only as he believed few may have lost their focus while training abroad in the past.
But Jaspal, a multiple-time Asian Games champion, while supporting the NRAI’s intention to protect shooters, felt the move may have come a little late in the day.
“While I understand the federation is trying to protect the shooters but, end of the day, it may affect the shooters’ preparations before the Olympics.
“I agree the NRAI can monitor the shooters’ progress, keep a track of their programmes but, at the same time, they (the shooters) also have the right to earn money,” the pistol ace said of his proteges as well as other shooters.
The Indian shooting squad includes quite a few young players, including teen sensations such as Manu and Saurabh, with Divyansh Singh Panwar being the youngest quota winner.
For those who already have contracts, Raninder said he will ensure the shooters unsign them, or he will go to the courts and get a stay.
“Not enough time is left for the Olympics. I don’t think they should change the policies, programmes and everything else that has brought us success in recent times. It’s better to stick to them,” Rana said.
Jaspal also didn’t seem to be in agreement with the NRAI’s plans to have shooters train in India only.
“Tell me how did the shooters achieve so much success (in the years since the Rio Olympics debacle). Didn’t going abroad to train help… it certainly helped. What is the need to bring in something like this now. The shooters must have chalked their plans in the run-up to the Olympics.”
During the trap final of the Shotgun Nationals last week, Raninder had said, “Everyone is going to train in Delhi. No one is going to train in Japan or Switzerland or Italy. If you want to go to ammunition testing or changing your grip or barrel then yes, we will send you outside. But I want to monitor their progress and keep track of their performance.”