The National Rifle Association of India withdrew the Indian skeet team from the Asian Clay Shooting championship in Bangkok on Saturday, on the instruction of the Union Sports Ministry.

The manager of the Indian shooting squad gave a letter to the organising committee in Bangkok on Saturday, saying the team was being withdrawn from the skeet competition scheduled to be held on Sunday and Monday, “on the instruction of the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.”

Court ruling

The Government had cleared the Indian shooting team without naming Sohrab Gill who was scheduled to shoot in the MQS section. It may be recalled that Sohrab had gained a favourable order from the Punjab and Haryana High Court enabling him to represent the country despite not holding an Indian passport.

The court had ruled that Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) could also be given the same status as NRIs when it came to representing the country in international sports.

The NRAI entered him in the competition as he was among the top five, following the selection trials. He was taken in the team at no cost to the government, since his name was not in the list cleared by the Government, and he was asked to pay his own expenses.

On Thursday, the government had asked NRAI to withdraw Gill from the squad, and after much deliberation the NRAI agreed to withdraw the whole skeet team on being asked to do so, in writing, by the Ministry.

The matter was communicated to the team management on Friday evening in Bangkok, and the letter to the organising committee was given on Saturday morning.

Fee paid

India had given entries for five men and one woman in skeet, and had paid entry fee to the tune of $250 each for all the six. The team entry fee of $100 for the men's team of three shooters had also been paid.

The skeet shooters were scheduled to stay in Bangkok for nearly a week till April 6, and their accommodation had also been paid. While none of the money would be returned by the organisers, some of the shooters have planned to return on Sunday itself, understandably quite upset about not being able to compete.

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