NRAI asks shooters to stay away from 'unauthorised' online league

The NRAI deemed the contest uncertified as the league's founder Shimon Sharif had not sought permission from the federation before going ahead.

Top Indian shooter Manu Bhaker, in all likelihood, will be withdrawing her name from the online league. (File Photo)   -  special arrangement

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has asked its shooters to stay away from an “unauthorised online league", stating disciplinary action will be taken against those who compete in the tournament.

It is believed that the league is the brainchild of former India shooter Shimon Sharif, who has been hosting several e-championships ever since the country went into lockdown, starting March 25 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sharif, who runs a website indianshooting.com, is, however, determined to go ahead with the month-long competition via a video-conferencing application.

"We will be going ahead with the league and it will be organised on July 4 as planned as there are several shooters from other countries who have already registered. The NRAI only has control over the Indian shooters. Majority of the competition will have top athletes from abroad anyway," Sharif said.

After online shooting championship, it’s time for online league  

The NRAI deemed the contest uncertified as Sharif had not sought permission from the federation before going ahead.

"We did invite president Raninder Singh to join us for the first edition of the online championship. Since I did not get any response, I got an impression that no one is reading the mail. I never thought we would require permission from the federation for an online competition since it was completely non-commercial and we weren't receiving any monetary benefits.

"Even the shooters were not being paid any professional fee to participate in it. I was just hosting it for the benefit of the shooters who weren't getting the competitive feel at home," Sharif explained.

"Also, with the enforced shutdown how could I have possibly gotten a sanction with shutters down on the federation office? The ISSF also doesn't have a problem with a league, provided it doesn't clash with its interests," he added.

The league will now lose out on a host of Indian stars like Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Anish Bhanwala, who used to regularly participate in the one-off championships.

"The league had given us a platform to have a feel of international events at a time when we lost all major tournaments from the 2020 calendar. It motivated us to train because you always had the next competition coming up soon. Now with the NRAI barring us from participating, I don't know what is going to happen," said a top shooter.

Sharif, who has already drafted a mail to Singh for further clarity said, "I have always known the president to be someone who hugely promotes the growth of the sport and I believe there has been some sort of misunderstanding. I am sure he will understand."