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Tokyo Olympics: NRAI to initiate assessment into India shooters' flop show in the Games

Elavenil Valarivan

Bengaluru, July 27: The India shooters ended their Tokyo Olympics campaign in the 10M Air Pistol and 10M Air Rifle, individual as well as team events, without bagging a medal. The last blow came when they bowed out of the mixed team events on Tuesday (July 27).

The performance of India shooters did not justify the expectations placed on them in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics. For the first time since, 1996 Games no Indian shooters entered the final of the individual 10M Air Pistol and 10M Air Rifle, and the magnitude of the implosion has shocked the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).

That India have couple of more events remaining in the Tokyo Olympics has not mitigated the jolt. The governing body has promised to look into the performance or the lack of it at the earliest.

"I have no excuses to offer. If you look at shooters like Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary...they have performed excellently in the run-up to the Olympics in various competitions including World Championships. But what happened here (Tokyo) is really a blow for all of us. We will review this and take necessary steps at the earliest," Raninder Singh, the NRAI president, told MyKhel from Tokyo.

However, Raninder was not ready to place the blame entirely on the shooting contingent. "See, these shooters are very young and many of them are competing in their first Olympics and we need to take into account the pressure such big events putting on them. That's the only reason I can think of (for non-performance). We have availed them all possible facilities in these tough times, so I think it was all about pressure management. We have undertaken an assessment after the Rio Games in 2016, and we will do a similar honest review very soon and take corrective measures," he said.

Will there be a change in coaching staff post Olympics? "We still have couple of events left in the Games. We will have to wait and see what happens. We will certainly look into coaching staff as well and will do whatever necessary to improve from this point. There were some internal issues between coaches and shooters prior to the Olympics, and which were sorted before the event and I can say that the team travelled to Croatia and Tokyo as a family. All those, what I had said earlier will come under scrutiny as there no excuse for non-performance," he added.

Raninder was hinting to the reported rift between Manu Bhaker and former Olympian-turned-coach Jaspal Rana. Rana did not travel to Tokyo as former India shooter Ronak Pandit took over as the coach.

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Story first published: Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 13:03 [IST]
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