Heena's disqualification 'baffling', says coach

Ronak Pandit, husband and coach of shooter Heena Sidhu, has called Heena's disqualification from the 25-metre pistol event at the ongoing World Cup 'baffling'. On Sunday, Heena had failed a 'random check' in the competition alongside three-time world champions Jasna Sekaric.

Heena’s equipment had passed the check a day earlier, but could not pass the "random check" post competition.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar (File Photo)

Heena Sidhu’s quest to master the 25-metre sports pistol found an unexpected hurdle, as she was disqualified at the halfway stage, during the ongoing World Cup in Munich, owing to a light trigger that was below specification. Having shot 292 in the precision stage, the fourth best score, the 26-year-old Heena was understandably looking forward to doing well in the rapid fire section.

Interestingly, Heena’s equipment had passed the check a day earlier, but could not pass the "random check" post competition. It was no consolation that one of the world’s best shooters, the most accomplished, Jasna Sekaric of Serbia, met with the same fate for the same reason.

"It was baffling and unfortunate," exclaimed Heena’s husband and coach, Ronak Pandit. "Two weeks ago in grand Prix of Liberation competition, Heena shot 291 in duelling. They didn’t give her a chance this time," bemoaned Ronak, understandably upset about the unexpected hindrance after hours of strenuous training.

"They used different person and different weight for equipment control and random check. This is not correct because of human error in this. If you don’t know how to lift correctly, it will not pass," explained Ronak.

He dismissed the possibilities of the weather or any other factor changing the specifications within 24 hours.

A sensible decision

As a fallout of the disappointment, Ronak made a sensible decision to buy the trigger checking equipment, to monitor the trigger weight when required. "I have purchased my own trigger weight. Every time, 10 minutes before competition, I will check myself and then send Heena to the firing line for the match," he said.

When queried about the possibilities of excess baggage, Ronak countered, "I rather pay €100 for excess baggage, than have €10,000 spent on training go waste like this."

Ronak also said that he was writing to the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) to have an electronic machine to check trigger weight. "For something as inconsequential as a shooting shoe for pistol shooters, they have an electronic machine. Then, why not for something as important as the trigger weight. Why not have an electronic gadget and eliminate human error," he argued.

A Korean had experienced a similar situation during equipment control before competition, and the Korean officials protested and got the inexperienced person doing the check, removed. Heena did not have such an option during the random check.