Seeking a seamless Olympic build-up, the National Rifle Association of India is learnt to have asked its coaches to exercise discretion and use “proper channel” while speaking to the media to avoid any communication breakdown ahead of the Games.
Proper channel, in this case, means using the federation’s media department as the contact point, an NRAI source told PTI on Tuesday. The diktat is primarily meant for pistol coaches and came straight from the office of president Raninder Singh.
“The federation, especially the president, is determined that the shooters are not affected in any way prior to the Tokyo Olympics. They are hoping that there would be no confusion because of a particular coach saying something to the media about a shooter or regarding any other things related to their preparations,” the source said.
The Olympic-bound Indian shooting team is currently in Croatia on a training-cum-competition tour, at the end of which, it will fly directly to Tokyo.
“There was a report that an ad was shot in Zagreb in the bio-bubble, but the fact is that there is no such bio-bubble thing for them in Croatia,” the source said.
“People must understand that the (COVID-19) situation in Croatia is different from India. There, one has to just serve a quarantine on arrival and after that the person is not under any COVID restrictions.
“So these kind of reports — apart from others — floating around are not good for the team ahead of a big event like the Olympics,” he added.
To everyone’s surprise, a fancied Indian team fired a blank at the Rio Olympics five years ago, leading to the formation of a special panel recommending radical changes in the federation. The NRAI, this time, is determined that such a show is not repeated in Tokyo.
India will be represented by a record 15 shooters in the Tokyo Games, which is scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8. The shooters were selected based on their performance in the NRAI’s four-year Olympic qualifying cycle, starting with the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games which was followed by the World Championship (both in 2018), all four World Cups, the Asian Championships in 2019 and selection trials stage 1 and 2 earlier this year.
As per the NRAI’s stated policy, an average of five best scores in an international competition, starting with the Jakarta Asiad, was taken into account while picking the final team.