In spotlight: Not a Rana of the mill shooting coach

For the first time ever, five Khel Ratna Awards were officially declared on Friday.

Published: 23rd August 2020 07:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd August 2020 07:36 AM   |  A+A-

Jaspal Rana (Photo | File)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: For the first time ever, five Khel Ratna Awards were officially declared on Friday.  Moreover, a total of 27 athletes were named for the Arjuna Award. The total count had many questioning the evaluation process, especially given the fact that this is a non-Olympic year.With the awards usually reserved for headline-grabbing historic feats in a certain time-period, there were few inclusions that missed the handbook adopted by the sports ministry in the past.

If there was one name that didn’t look out of place, it was national shooting coach Jaspal Rana. Rana, who was named for the Dronacharya Award, has been a real force behind Indian shooters’ dominant display over the years. 

Initially with the junior team as head coach, under his watch, many young guns bloomed to become world beaters in serious competitions.

A champion shooter himself in the past, the former Asian Games winner had missed out on the award last year. Despite ticking all the boxes, he was denied the same due to ‘misinformation’. And the matter is still in court. “The case is not on the award, but on the wrong information given to the selection committee,” he told this daily. But Rana is not worried about legal matters for now. He’s happy that his efforts have been recognised.

“Every year there is some of controversy. But I guess these things keep happening. It’s a great honour (winning the award) for me,” the Dehradun native said.

Rana has nurtured shooters like Manu Bhaker, Abhishek Verma and Saurabh Chaudhary, to name a few, making them serial winners. And Rana recognises their contribution and is thankful to everyone who’s helped him ever since he took up the coaches’ hat.

“The Dronacharya (Award) cannot belong to one person. For the last eight years or so, there are many people who have worked with me. Nobody knows their names... my assistant coaches, physical trainers, SAI, NRAI et al. “And there are a number of shooters who have had a hand in this. They have given me the confidence with the results.” 

The shooting camp, that was slated to resume this month, was recently called off due to logistical issues and the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

So for now, most of his wards have been training at home. “I know it becomes mundane (training at home) after a certain point. They need plenty of confidence. They haven’t had a competition for eight months or so and that’s going to affect them.

But that’s the situation for most elite shooters around the world. So we have to put our best foot forward.”Rana will not be resting on his laurels and will be looking to ensure that his wards can put their best foot forward ahead of 2021 Olympics.


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