Senior Indian shooters were miffed after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) denied permission at the eleventh hour to participate in the Asian Airgun shooting championships. NRAI has been of the opinion that the government denied some valuable practice time ahead of important competitions.
The Asian Airgun Meet, which has been scheduled in Kuwait, had as many as 12 top Indian senior shooters – six each in rifle and pistol – along with the junior ones. And after a week-long training camp in New Delhi that was duly approved by SAI, the government has informed the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) that their trip wasn’t cleared by the sports ministry as per TOI reports.
“The SAI was initially of the view that no team should go but later only the junior teams were cleared as this meet was part of the Annual Competition and Training Calendar (ACTC) of juniors approved by the ministry. The seniors were denied permission, with SAI saying that the Asian Airgun meet was not part of the ACTC. The government officials told NRAI that our top shooters need some rest as they had competed in many big competitions this year,” sources told TOI.
However, the shooting fraternity didn’t take the move nicely with many NRAI members believing that the authority has denied them a chance to test their bench strength ahead of a number of important competitions making all the hard work for nothing.
“It is wrong to deny the shooters saying that it is not part of ACTC as it was the ministry which omitted the event from the calendar. The NRAI had conducted a camp for this competition and this camp was cleared by SAI. The permission to travel to Kuwait was denied at the last minute and shooters were informed barely 48 hours before the boarding time.
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It was also revealed that the shooters were even willing to compete without government costs at all with private firms ready to sponsor them.
“Private firms were ready to sponsor the shooters but then the officials were wary of them taking credit,” they added.