The exclusion of veteran paralympian Naresh Sharma from the Indian squad for the upcoming World Cup has kicked off a storm.
Naresh has moved the Delhi High Court after he was not included in the 15-member squad named by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
The Arjuna Awardee, who has represented India at five Paralympic Games, filed the writ petition, questioning the selection policy and the entire process of selection by the PCI.
The Delhi High Court has asked the PCI to file a response by 15th of this month.
Naresh told indianshooting.com, “I am very disappointed by this decision taken by PCI. I have been training hard and I am fully prepared to compete at the World Cup and World Championship. I am even willing to participate at my own cost.”
World Shooting Para Sport World Cup to be held from March 22 to 28 in Al Ain, UAE is a MQS competition for the World Shooting Para Sport Championship in Cheongju, Korea.
The World Shooting Para Sport Championship is very important since it offers quota places for the 2020 Paralympic Games.
Last December, Naresh shot 1109 in Men’s 50m Rifle Three Positions (R7) to win gold medal at the National Shooting Championship in Kerala but fell short of MQS set by the PCI. Naresh had also shot 1109 to finish 12th at the World Shooting Para Sport World Cup in Bangkok, last year.
The PCI revised the selection policy in November, last year and the MQS to participate in international shooting competitions in Men’s 50m Rifle Three Positions (R7) was set at 1137.
“The PCI floated a revised selection policy which is unjustified. They have set the MQS very high in my event with the sole purpose of discouraging me” said Naresh.
Naresh has also alleged that PCI has been trying it’s best to put hindrances in his way in order to settle personal differences.
“Last year, just a day before my flight to Hannover for an international competition, the PCI had denied me permission to compete and also sent an email to IPC (International Paralympic Committee) asking them not to consider my score as MQS for the World Championship. I shot 1120 in Men’s 50m Rifle Three Positions (R7) which is 10 points more than the MQS required for the World Championship and the Paralympics,” added Naresh.
Naresh was the first paralympian from India to book a berth for the 2016 Rio Paralympics. He has featured in every Paralympics since 1996, missing out only in Athens 2004. The 44-year-old had his best finish in 2008 Beijing Paralympics, where he finished 5th.