The selection panel for the Dronahcraya award has revealed that none of the protégés had names Jaspal Rana as their coach while filling the affidavits and hence, the seasoned coach was ignored for the award. It has snowballed into a huge controversy with Abhinav Bindra standing beside him.
A multiple Asian Games gold-medallist marksman, Rana has been credited to have groomed shooters like Manu, Saurabh and Anish into world-class shooters. However, his name didn’t come up in the Dronacharya Awards, an honour given to eminent coaches for successfully training sportspersons or teams to achieve outstanding results in international competitions.
And PTI has reported that it was because none of the shooters had filled his name in affidavits to come under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). It has ensued a lot of debate with the panel disclosing that while Saurabh Chaudhary mentioned Amit Sheroen as his coach in the official records, Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala named Suresh Kumar and Harpreet Singh respectively as their mentors.
“We went by what the athletes have declared in the official records. None of Jaspal Rana’s so-called proteges have named him as their coach in the affidavit filed up to be a part of the TOPS,” the member told PTI on condition of anonymity.
“It was a fair decision. How can we award someone when his proteges have not mentioned his name as their coach? That was the main bone of contention and that went against him. It was a fair and unanimous decision,” he added.
As per a Sports Authority of India (SAI) source, Rana created a bad atmosphere by not being present during Manu’s 25m pistol final at the Munich World Cup in May this year. “Rana had travelled as the pistol coach for the Munich World Cup but during Manu’s final, where her weapon got stuck twice, he was not present. That cost Manu and the country an Olympic quota place,” the source said.
Among the nominated names by the selection panel are Vimal Kumar (badminton), Sandeep Gupta (table tennis) and Mohinder Singh Dhillon (athletics) for the Dronacharya Award in regular category, while Mezban Patel (hockey), Rambir Singh Khokar (kabaddi), Sanjay Bhardwaj (cricket) were picked for the Dronacharya Award in the lifetime category. The winner would get a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.