NRAI For Panel To Review Rio Debacle


New Delhi: The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has come up with a proposal to set up a special committee, to be headed by Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, to carry out a comprehensive review of the shooters’ below-par performance at the Rio Games.

Indian shooters proved to be an epic failure in a disastrous Rio Olympic Games as the 12-member team, with the exception of Bindra, failed miserably to live up to the sky-high expectations. This has left the country’s shooting fraternity highly disappointed.

“NRAI is to shortly announce the formation of an independent committee to anlyse the performance of the Indian shooting team at the Rio Olympics and fix accountability of for the same subsequently,” a top official of the federation said on condition of anonymity.

The panel will also be expected to recommend to NRAI measures to prevent a recurrence. The likes of Heena Sidhu, Manavjeet Singh Sandhu, Gagan Narang, Jitu Rai and Apurvi Chandela, among others, left the country thoroughly disappointed after they were unable to put on an impressive show. The NRAI was expected to introspect and dissect the reasons for this huge let-down from the shooting contingent.

After fetching medals at each of the last three Games, India’s largest-ever shooting contingent returned empty-handed. The issue of shooters hiring personal coaches, the selection of shooters for multiple Olympics on reputation rather than form and the role of private non-profits like Olympic Gold Quest, Lakshya Foundation, Anglian Medal Hunt and Go Sports are issues likely to be investigated by the panel. Sources said the NRAI is keen to have the panel recommend that all shooting activity be centralised under the federation’s control. Besides Bindra, the committee is likely to comprise NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia, former national tennis champion Manisha Malhotra, and two journalists.

Right after the Indian shooters’ campaign in Rio, NRAI President Raninder Singh had taken upon himself the blame for the dismal outing, saying it was a mistake on his part to allow the athletes to train with personal coaches.

“We have made a tactical blunder in allowing personal coaches on their own. We will introspect this in future,” Raninder had said.

In what was the only bright spot for Indian shooting team in Rio, Beijing Olympics gold medallist Bindra’s finished a creditable fourth as he missed a medal by a whisker in a tense shoot-off in the men’s 10m air rifle event.