Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No Qualified Coach for Indian Shooters

How can we expect them to win medals? Government wants to hire coaches only till 2010 Commonwealth Games but world class coaches prefer contract till Olympics. Let us see what the outcome is.

An Olympic gold should have changed the course of Indian shooting but sadly no such thing has happened.

Abhinav Bindra had on August 11, 2008, created history becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal when he pocketed the men's 10 meter air rifle title at Beijing Olympics.

But less than a year later, Indian shooting has slipped back into a familiar abyss and the cream of India's shooters are building up towards the 2010 Commonwealth Games without a qualified coach.

The Indian shooting team is training in Pune for the Commonwealth Games and Rupees 50 crore have been allocated by the government to train India's best.

But, the Indian rifle and pistol shooters do not have foreign coaches and in their sport's parlance, they are now shooting blind.

"Sometimes we are not able to find put what is going wrong with the rifle. What's going wrong with the position? We just have to do trial and error and find 'OK maybe this is wrong'... and sometimes change that and make some another change," reveals rifle shooter Avneet Kaur Sidhu.

There has been no pistol coach since Hungary's Csaba Gyorik left after the Beijing Olympics. The Sports Authority of India has not yet found a replacement for rifle coach Laszlo Szucsak who quit three months back; fed up with the system.

National Coach Sunny Thomas also knows that his expertise is limited.

"We also know a bit but they have got more knowledge especially in adjusting the weapons etc or minute adjustments in the arm or thing like that. It will be easier for them to do it," says shooting coach Sunny Thomas

The shooters say the authorities have got their priorities wrong. The government wants to hire coaches only till the Commonwealth Games but world wide coaches prefer a contract till the Olympics.

The National Rifle Association of India is also fuming.

"Act quickly! You can't go tender wise for the coaches. There are limited coaches throughout the world," demands NRAI President Digvijay Singh.

Is it fair to expect our shooters and other sportspersons to win medals without basic support?

Shooting is expected to bring in more than half of India's medals at the Commonwealth Games and the medals may still come but in spite of the system and not because of it.