Indian shooting has been on a sound footing in recent times. However, with just about a year to go for the Paris Olympics, Indian shotgun has run into rough weather.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has advertised for filling vacancies of foreign coaches for trap and skeet, with June 20 as the deadline for application.
Two time world champion and Olympic champion Russell Mark, and his wife Lauryn Mark had to quit their job as coaches of the Indian shotgun team for trap and skeet by the end of May, as the NRAI did not renew their contract that expired in March.
The rich results on the world stage and the shooters themselves vouch that Russel and Lauryn did a fantastic job of guiding the Indian team. Yet, they perhaps did not fit into the scheme of things as the NRAI believed in a data driven approach.
In spelling out details for the jobs offered which would be finalised in consultation with the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the NRAI has stated that, “the coach would be required to submit data analysis of all national campers and probables on a regular basis”.
In their parting communication to the shooters, Russell and Lauryn expressed their disappointment about not being able to continue with the Indian team till the Paris Olympics, after having worked hard to lay the foundation.
“We have tried many times to get the NRAI to present us with a renewed contract, all to no avail. Russell offered to stay on until Paris at his current remuneration rate, but I asked for a slight pay increase as it appears that I would be required to perform the dual role as High Performance Manger and skeet coach for the next year”, stated Lauryn, underlining the point that the two were willing to continue for less money in India, despite other countries offering much more.
“This may sound stupid of us, but we took into account the progress we had made with the team, the relationships we had formed and obviously the success we believe lays ahead for the team”, wrote Lauryn.
The fact that the contract had not been renewed for Russell and Lauryn after March had led to the two getting fresh offers from around the world. It may be a blessing in disguise for the two as they may already be in the process of getting into more lucrative contracts.
As true professionals who loved their job and respected their commitment to the athletes, Russell and Mark were not happy about the situation.
“This was an extremely difficult decision as we have poured our heart and soul into this team, but we have run out of fight. The lack of recognition and communication has taken its toll. We wish you guys all the very best for the future and in particular in your lead up to the Paris Olympics”, signed off Russell and Lauryn.
In the last shotgun World Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Ganemat Sekhon and Darshna Rathore won the individual silver and bronze medals respectively in women’s skeet. In the earlier World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Ganemat Sekhon had won the mixed skeet gold.
Bhowneesh Mendiratta had won the trap Olympic quota in the World Championship, and Prithviraj Tondaiman had won the individual bronze in trap in the Doha World Cup.
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