Former shooter Ronak Pandit believes that foreign coaches are not as good as the Indian ones, even though they can be used as experts in fields like sports science. The 15-member Indian shooting contingent fared miserably at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and as they failed to bag a single medal.
At the time of departure, the Indian shooting contingent was deemed as the frontrunner to bag a few medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but popular expectations changed drastically within the first few days of the event. Apart from Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker, no other Indian shooter (pistol, rifle, or shotgun) managed to qualify for the medal round.
Ronak Pandit has been working closely with the Indian shooters for quite some now and believes that the NRAI (National Rifle Association of India) had done everything in its capacity to ensure that the shooters remain in their best shape for the Olympics. However, when asked to highlight an aspect that needs to be changed to help Indian shooting, Ronak was quick to point out that the practice of using foreign coaches so much is one such area, as their Indian counterparts are far more superior.
“I have no qualms admitting and I have said this several times before that our foreign coaches aren’t as good as the Indian coaches. But that’s my opinion. The shooter–coach rapport is always better with Indian coach and so is the communication,” said Ronak Pandit, during an interview with Scroll.in.
In spite of his reservations towards overseas coaches, Ronak also mentioned specifically that foreigners might be used in Indian shooting, but only in the field of sports sciences, which is underdeveloped in India. But, he is against the idea of giving them a lead role, as it can undermine the good work done by Indian coaches
“You may have one or two foreign experts in fields like sport science which is under-developed in India but you cannot have them lead the way. We are a peculiar lot and they can never understand us or our ways. Anyways these bunch from eastern Europe and Russia are an obsolete lot and we should steer away from them,” added the former shooter.
“A lot of the good work of us Indian coaches wasn’t done as well because the foreign coaches had the final say and I don’t think they were professional enough. The way they conduct simulation competitions is far from how it should be and I am certain it had an effect on our performances.”