NEW DELHI: Having won just one quota in the first three days of the competition, it was the last day for the Indians to add to it. Two rifle shooters and three pistol shooters were in the running for a maximum of four quotas at the ISSF World Cup. It was always going to be huge ask, but there was plenty of expectations with some boasting a good track record. However, it turned out to be a disaster. What was more painful was the manner they bowed out. None — who were in for quotas — managed to get past the qualifying hurdle.
One man who was thoroughly disappointed is junior national pistol coach Jaspal Rana. The former world champion has had a big hand in the rise of young shooters in the last four years or so. One among them was Manu Bhaker, who was completely out of her elements on Tuesday. The multiple Asian Games gold medallist felt some of the youngsters including Manu lost focus in the last few months, which hampered their preparations. “Those who are disciplined are the ones who are doing well,” Jaspal said, referring to Saurabh Chaudhary, who earned a quota for India after winning the men’s 10m air pistol event.
Formerly under Jaspal’s watch, Manu was unstoppable last year. The 17-year-old had won gold in three World Cups. It looked like their association was just perfect. However, since she is a senior shooter and Jaspal is technically a junior coach, he has been forced to stay away from Manu and other youngsters like Saurabh in the last few months. He felt that they lacked guidance in this crucial period.
“I don’t think finals is a problem with her (Manu), she has shot many finals and done well. I have no track record of what she was doing in the last one month or so. I was not with her and I was not in the camp. I’m not trying to imply that me being there would have made any difference to today’s result.”
Jaspal urged the shooters and everyone associated with the sport to understand the enormity of the competition. And he has a valid point. Anish Bhanwala, who finished fifth in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event, was up against the cream of shooters in the final. The field boasted an Olympic champion, world champions, World No 1, a world record holder.
Citing Olympic champ Abhinav Bindra and veteran Manavjit Singh Sandhu as examples, the 42-year-old said youngsters should take a leaf out of their book. “Manav and Abhinav used to train so hard, doing commando-like training. That is what is required now,” said Jaspal.
Rapid fire reimbursement
The Organising Committee of the World Cup has decided to reimburse all expenses of the medal winners of the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event. The event was supposed to give out two Olympics quota places but they were revoked by the International Olympic Council before the competition.