A miserable show

KAMESH SRINIVASAN

NOTHING looks bigger when viewed through a microscope, than failure. The failure of the Indian contingent at the World championship was too glaring to need any microscopic analysis.

Call it bad luck, lack of sufficient coaching, lack of enough ammunition, lack of training on electronic targets, lack of professional support or lack of guts to handle the big stage with equanimity, the fact remained that all the progress made by the shooting team over the past few years could not get reflected in the congregation of a 100 countries.

All the progress made by the Indian shooters in the past was invisible in this championship.-KAMESH SRINIVASAN

The bronze by Rajkumari was like the bronze by Karnam Malleswari in the Sydney Olympics. Solitary glory.

It will be difficult to explain how Jaspal Rana shoots 299 and 300 regularly in training, but messes it up on the big stage these days. Of course, he is not competing regularly in his pet events internationally, but a man of his calibre has to come good when it matters, no matter that he does not get competition back home. He has slipped by his own standards. Maybe the guy does not have the intensity of concentration to do it any more.

"This was the first competition for him after the Commonwealth championship last year", said Prof. Sunny Thomas.

In fact, the coaches decided to keep Jaspal out of the World Cups in Atlanta and Milan in a bid to help him concentrate on his favourite events, the centrefire pistol and standard pistol. The ploy could not work, as Jaspal could neither do well in the Olympic event, air pistol, nor in the others.

"I expected a lot from him even after the 290 in the precision series. Hopefully, he will be ready for the competitions ahead", said Prof. Thomas.

"The Europeans compete in 19 to 20 meets a year, and they are battle hardened. He made a silly mistake because he has not shot enough matches", said Tibor Gonczol. The Hungarian coach based in Australia, Gonczol said that the progress of the shooters was being considerably hampered for lack of ammunition for more than two years.

"Earlier we used to give them targets also to practise when they were not in camps. Last two years there has been no coaching at all because of lack of ammunition. We can't do any coaching before the trials, and there have been only trials", said Gonczol.

A coach for the rifle shooters has not been found for two years, after Laszlo Szucsak's departure, despite the fact that Abhinav Bindra and Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat had shown that they deserved all the investment made on them.

"Like swimmers need water, shooters need ammunition. What our shooters use for a week is much less than what the others use in a day. We are where we are because of the good foundation we had a few years ago. There is more exposure now, but the basics are still missing. We are living on those memories", said Gonczol.

"The shooters have brought more medals than any other sport in the country. They deserve a better deal, if they have to improve on what they have done already. We need to be a lot more professional to compete with the best in the world", said Gonczol.

It is a vicious cycle. To get the support you need to show the results, and to get the results you need all the support.