Tokyo Olympics 2020: NRAI to overhaul coaching staff following shooting contingent’s dismal showing

Shooting, which was hailed as India's best bet in their quest for a historic medal tally, failed miserably in delivering to the expectations.

NRAI President Raninder Singh
Raninder Singh

The Olympics are tough and the Indians found it out the hard way. Much of the nation’s medal hopes were resting on the shoulders of the shooting contingent who failed miserably at the quadrennial event. Following their dismal show, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has decided to take action against the coaching.

The Indian contingent which featured 15 shooters failed to meet the expectations of the nation. Only one out of a team that boasts of numerous world beaters could make it to the final. The likes of Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Manu Bhaker and Elavenil Valarivan put up a horrid show as India returned without a single medal in a sport that was touted to bring home the highest number of medals.

Lack of consistency cost the Indians a big deal at the mega event. A single bad series saw Abhishek and Elavenil lose their spot in the final by a whisker and one expects such competition at Olympic Games. Bhaker on the other hand had her fate to rue for her pistol malfunction in the single’s event before she failed to ride her nerves in the mixed team event.

NRAI to overhaul coaching staff

Indian shooting team in Tokyo
Indian shooting team in Tokyo

Having been disappointed in two of the strongest medal contenders for India at the ongoing Games, NRAI president Raninder Singh has decided that a complete overhaul of the coaching staff is the first step forward. It s time the shooters go back to the drawing board and come back stronger than ever.

At the end of the day, the only thing I have to say is I can’t excuse non-performance. But I can only say this, remember that most of them are 19-year-olds. These are not adults. Some of them have fallen to the infamous Olympic pressure. There is nothing else I can say. If you see today’s performance, there was an Olympic record qualification score. It is not a joke. But then, 10 minutes later, in Stage 2, one of them does rather poorly, it’s really inexplicable in a way,” he was quoted as saying by India Today.

We have done whatever that is humanly possible in the build-up and the preparation. We followed the recommendation of that committee to the tee. It was a deep analysis after Rio,” he added.

Also read: Shooting at Tokyo Olympics: Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary Miss out on Finals after Poor Performance in Qualification Round 2 of Mixed Team 10m Air Pistol

Raninder shed light on the controversial issue of Bhaker parting ways with her national junior pistol coach Jaspal Rana. She has been working with Ronak Pandit in the last few months and there was a lot of talk about the reason for their split. The NRAI president shares that he tried his best to get the duo back together but it wasn’t meant to be.

I think in Delhi, there was a lot of internal factionalism among the pistol coaches. That was addressed in an 8-page letter by me…. It’s for reasons best known to him and the athletes concerned, they are unable to work together…. Both of them didn’t get on. The other side was also not willing to work with him…. I tried twice, this was once during the World Cup and once after,” Raninder explained.

Also read: Tokyo Olympics 2020: Sharath Kamal bows out in round three to World no. 2 Ma Long