Abhinav Bindra suggests quick revision of Olympic selection policy

Former shooter Abhinav Bindra pointed out that it was important “to tune the policy" quickly to ensure the best team represents India in Tokyo 2021.

Olympian Abhinav Bindra emphasised the need to put the best minds to work to form the guidelines.   -  FILE PHOTO/KAMESH SRINIVASAN

 

Indian shooting was primed to finalise the team for Tokyo Olympics, before the Games got postponed to 2021, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Can the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) afford to select the team, when the situation settles down, more than a year in advance?

“It may not help to announce the team, and hope that they all would be in prime form when the Olympics comes around. A year is a long time, especially in a sport like shooting,” said the former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra.

Will it not help the shooters prepare with more clarity if the team was announced? “There can be argument both ways. There can be no ideal policy. You can’t make everyone happy. There is that element of unknown. The nature of the sport is such that it can cut either way,” observed Bindra.

Conceding that a change in selection policy would be required, the star shooter pointed out that it was important “to tune the policy quickly to ensure the best team represents the country in the Olympics”.

READ| Tokyo Olympics to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021

“There may be a rejig in the team, even though the process had been completed and the team was to be announced.”

With 15 Olympic quotas secured, most of the shooters who won them were in excellent form throughout the season to hold on to the top position in their events. Understandably, in some events, the competition for Olympic berths has been very strong.

“The core group can be widened a bit. But, don’t open it for 30 shooters. One or two reserves in an event should be fine. Form the Olympic group, and back the shooters,” Bindra reasoned.

The Beijing Olympics gold medallist in air rifle emphasised the need to put the best minds to work on the right path ahead and form the guidelines.

“Get clarity and find the right balance. And do it quickly. Once you achieve clarity, about the changed criteria, about what is required for the shooters to make the team, they will plan accordingly. There has to be coordination,” he said.

Indian shooters have won the Olympic quota places, two each in men’s and women’s air rifle and air pistol, which would help the country field two teams each in the mixed air pistol and air rifle events as well.

A shooter like Manu Bhaker would be on top in air pistol and sports pistol, which would mean her being eligible for three events, including the mixed event.

There are shooters who may have won the Olympic quota, but may not be on top in their respective events in the country. The national federation may also toy with the idea of swapping one Olympic quota, as allowed by the rules, to another event of the same gender, by juggling the shooters and the events.

India also has two men’s skeet Olympic quota, two in women’s sports pistol, two in men’s rifle 3-position and one in women’s rifle 3-position events.

Moreover, shooters still have the provision to make the Olympics on the basis of their world rank. The best-ranked shooter in each of the 12 individual events will be selected separately at a time to be announced by the International Shooting Sport Federation, provided the country does not have an Olympic quota in that event already.

Widely acknowledged and awarded as the best national sports federation in recent years, the NRAI will swing into action once the sporting world returns to normal life.

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