The “disciplinary issues” that marred the Indian shooting team’s campaign at the Junior Worlds in Changwon two months back has resulted in delaying the selection of the squad for the upcoming Asian Championships as the national federation is awaiting clearance from its disciplinary committee.
The committee, headed by National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Kalikesh Singhdeo, will submit its report in the next few days and only then the team announcement will be made, federation secretary Rajiv Bhatia told PTI.
The NRAI usually announces the junior contingent for major international competitions along with the senior squad and many shooters became anxious when only the senior contingent was announced on Saturday.
Indian juniors returned home with 17 medals -- six gold, six silver and five bronze -- from the ISSF Junior World Championships in Changwon in July but there were reports of several “code of conduct violations” during their stay at the team hotel.
A source told PTI that the hotel had also sent video footage of the “violations” and had also written to the NRAI that they won’t do bookings for the Indian contingent during the Asian Championships.
“The disciplinary committee headed by Kalikesh Singhdeo is looking into the matter and once the report comes, only then the announcement of the contingent will be made. There is no doubt that India will send its juniors for the competition, but the announcement of the contingent will get delayed,” said Bhatia.
The premier Asian competition will be held from October 22 to November 2.
While the senior team that includes the likes of Manu Bhaker, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, among others, will vie for the 2024 Paris Olympic quota places, the Asian Championships is also a high-priority event for juniors as most of them are the country’s future prospects.
“The process (for selecting the team) has been delayed owing to the disciplinary issue during the Junior Worlds. The deadline to send the entries for the Asian Championships has still not expired. Hopefully, we will have a meeting in the next couple of days and finalise the contingent. We will send 40-50 junior shooters for the competition,” added Bhatia.
Asked if the shooters who had committed the alleged “violations” will be left out, Bhatia said, “I will not comment on that. Whatever the disciplinary committee decides, NRAI will go with that.” “Even if some top-ranked shooters have committed violations, they could miss out,” he added.
NRAI secretary-general Sultan Singh said, “You may be a medallist or whatever but if you start behaving in an obscene manner then basically, we don’t need that medal.” A source said the NRAI had issued notices to at least 12 junior shooters in the wake of the alleged violation during the World Championships.
A national pistol coach also submitted a report to the NRAI pointing out the “violations”.
But the source added that more serious violations had taken place in the shogun squad, which were not reported by the national shotgun coach.
Singh said those were issues with regard to payment of double occupancy in the hotel.
“The girl just went to have a bath in the room (of a male shooter). He (shooter) said, ‘my room is empty and you can use my rest room’ and the (hotel) housekeeping staff reported it. It is like, may have been friendly or something...he just said you can use my room if you are in a hurry,” added Singh.
“We are laying down (the rules) that whatever be the reason, you cannot enter somebody’s room,” said Singh, adding, “discipline is something you can’t lay down...it is basically you have to maintain the issues of conduct.” “We sensitise the shooters before they leave for any event. We now make sure we have a workshop before they leave.”
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