India’s junior team pistol coach Jaspal Rana feels the national shooting federation will be better off not tinkering with the existing policies and programs that brought the country a record 15 Tokyo Olympic quotas. The likes of Manu Bhakar, Chinki Yadav and Saurabh Chaudhary, who have all secured quotas for the Tokyo Olympic, have prospered under the tutelage of the former pistol ace.

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Seeking to protect them from exploitation and distractions in the run-up to next Tokyo Olympic, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh said recently that the shooters will not be allowed to sign any new commercial deals without the federation’s permission and the parents will also have to sign a bond that no exploitation will be done for “financial gains”.

I think this could have been done a long time back. Right now, even if there are shooters who are already contracted, who will give them the money. How do you expect them to come out of contracts before the time of their expiry, asked Rana while speaking to PTI?

Raninder also says the shooters, prior to the Tokyo Olympic, will have to train in India only as he believed few may have lost their focus while training abroad in the past. But Rana, a world championship gold medalist, and multiple-time Asian Games champion, while supporting the NRAI’s intention to protect shooters, felt the move may have come a little late in the day.

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While I understand the federation is trying to protect the shooters but, the end of the day, it may affect the shooters’ preparations before the Tokyo Olympic. I agree the NRAI can monitor the shooters’ progress, keep a track of their programs but, at the same time, they (the shooters) also have the right to earn money, the pistol ace said of his proteges as well as other shooters.

The Indian shooting team includes quite some young players, including teen sensations such as Manu and Saurabh, with Divyansh Singh Panwar being the youngest quota winner. For those who already have contracts, Raninder said he will ensure the shooters using them, or he will go to the courts and get a stay.

Rana said “Not enough time is left for the Tokyo Olympic. I don’t think they should change the policies, programs and everything else that has brought us success in recent times. It’s better to stick to them.”

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The highly-successful national coach also didn’t seem to be in agreement with the NRAI’s plans to have shooters train in India only. Tell me how did the shooters achieve so much success (in the years since the Rio Olympics debacle). Didn’t going abroad to train help… they certainly helped. What is the need to bring in something like this now? The shooters must have chalked their plans in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympic.

During the trap finals of the Shotgun Nationals, Raninder had said, “Everyone is going to train in Delhi. If you need to go to ammunition testing or changing your hold or barrel then yes, we will send you outside. But I want to monitor their progress and keep track of their performance.”

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