Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: There is a question mark over the participation of Ronjan Sodhi in Beijing Olympics. Ronjan had won the doubletrap gold in the World Cup in Belgrade by equalling two world records, and had expressed hope that the international body governing the sport, ISSF, would reward his excellent performance with a wildcard for the Beijing Games.

The catch

However, the only catch is that the ISSF has already given away the stipulated 10 tripartite invitations, 14 wildcards, as well as redistributing five quota places that had been returned to it by national federations which would not be using them.

As per the rules, there will be a maximum of 390 shooters from 94 countries competing in 15 events in the Olympics in August. Only 66 member countries had managed to win quota places. The ISSF had made it a point to give the tripartite invitations, wildcards and the unused quota places to those nations that could not win a quota place.

It may be noted that the ISSF received more than 140 applications for the 14 wildcards, and it awarded them to the countries on the basis of the number of shooters who had obtained MQS scores and results.

Among others Pakistan got a wildcard in men’s 50-metre rifle 3-position, while Philippines got one in men’s trap. Bangladesh managed to win one of the tripartite invitations in men’s air rifle.

Among the 29 invitations extended, only one was for men’s double trap and it was bagged by Malta.

Exudes confidence

However, the Secretary-General of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), Baljit Singh Sethi, exuded confidence.

He said that he would continue to pursue Ronjan’s case with the ISSF and get an entry for him. “The ISSF and the Asian Shooting Federation have assured us a wildcard for Ronjan on the ‘hardship quota’ and we will follow up on that,” said Sethi.

In such a scenario, there is no wonder that Ronjan is keeping his fingers crossed.

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