Mixed gender events will benefit India: NRAI chief

“An example is mixed pair test event over here in air pistol (which Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu won). So we have the best chance of picking up an extra medal in the two air events. That’s why I believe it is in our interest, this change. I am not worried about it,” he said.

Raninder Singh was speaking on the sidelines of the Shooting World Cup.   -  THE HINDU

Terming pistol and rifle events as “strength areas” for Indian shooters, NRAI president Raninder Singh today said the country will be at an advantageous position if the International Olympic Committee ratifies the ISSF recommendations on mixed gender shooting events for 2020 Tokyo Olympics programme.

In line with the IOC’s aim to achieve gender equality in its Tokyo Olympics programme, the International Shooting Sport Federation last week forwarded to IOC, its ad-hoc committee’s recommendations, which when implemented, will see the double trap men’s event being replaced by trap mixed gender team event, 50m rifle prone with a 10m air rifle mixed gender event and 50m pistol with 10m air pistol mixed gender team event.

“I am a shotgun shooter and if I look at it dispassionately, not emotionally or haphazardly, what are my strengths — air rifle and air pistol. My deepest bench strength is in air rifle and air pistol. And it will remain so, given the dynamics of Indian shooting. So where do I have the maximum chances of doing well, think about it,” Raninder told reporters on the sidelines of the ISSF World Cup here.

“My duty as an executive board member is to look at shooting as a sport in Olympic movement, that is my primary responsibility. I am not there as a representative of India. I was elected by 452 people and there are only two votes from India. So we have responsibility to international shooting first.“When we see how it suits us as a country. I am very happy, I think I am going to gain. You get extra chances for quota, you get extra chances for medal in our strength areas.”

“An example is mixed pair test event over here in air pistol (which Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu won). So we have the best chance of picking up an extra medal in the two air events. That’s why I believe it is in our interest, this change. I am not worried about it,” he said.

He added, “My duty as an executive board member is to look at shooting as a sport in Olympic movement, that is my primary responsibility. I am not there as a representative of India. I was elected by 452 people and there are only two votes from India. So we have responsibility to international shooting first.

“When we see how it suits us as a country. I am very happy, I think I am going to gain. You get extra chances for quota, you get extra chances for medal in our strength areas.”

The nine-member ad-hoc committee was headed by Abhinav Bindra, who has come in for criticism from some shooters, and Raninder said it was the duty of the Indian Olympic champion to “project” the recommendations of his body to the ISSF executive board.

“My only request is lay off Abhinav Bindra, he had nothing to do with this, he has done his job. He has debated it very professionally. If his body decides something he is duty bound to project it in the executive board,” said Raninder.

“The ISSF athletes committee is one vote out of 13 on the executive board. He is not the only one making the recommendation. The ISSF executive board set up an ad hoc committee in which the athletes committee chairman was one member out of nine.

“So even if he has made some suggestions it is not incumbent on the executive board to necessarily listen to what Abhinav Bindra and the athletes committee has to say. Many times we reject (their suggestions). It is the greater wisdom of the shooting governing executive faced with what we were given in terms of the demands made by the IOC - shape up or go away.”

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