Sport

Bindra suggests revision of Olympic selection policy

Bindra. File Photo V Sreenivasa Murthy

Bindra. File Photo V Sreenivasa Murthy  

‘A year is a long time, especially in a sport like shooting’

Indian shooting was primed to finalise the team for Tokyo Olympics before the Games was postponed to 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Can the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) afford to select the team, when the situation settles down, more than a year in advance?

“It may not help to announce the team, and hope that they all would be in prime form when the Olympics comes around. A year is a long time, especially in a sport like shooting,” said former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra.

Will it not help to give clarity for the shooters, to get the nod when the situation becomes normal, so that they have a long time to prepare for the Olympics?

Unknown element

“There can be argument both ways. There can be no ideal policy. You can’t make everyone happy. There is that element of unknown. The nature of the sport is such that it can cut either way,” said Bindra.

Conceding that a change in selection policy would be required, Bindra pointed out that it was important “to tune the policy quickly so as to ensure the best team represents the country in the Olympics.

“There may be a rejig in the team, even though the process had been completed and the team was to be announced.”

With 15 Olympic quotas secured, most of the shooters who won them were in excellent form through the season.

Core group can be widened

“The core group can be widened a bit. But, don’t open it for 30 shooters. One or two reserves in an event should be fine. Form the Olympic group, and back the shooters,” reasoned Bindra.

More than anything, the Beijing Olympics gold medallist in air rifle, Bindra emphasised the need to put the best minds to work on the right path ahead and form the guidelines.

“Get clarity, and find the right balance. And do it quickly. Once you achieve clarity about what is required for the shooters to make the team, they will plan accordingly. There has to be coordination,” said Bindra.

Can still make the grade

Shooters still have the provision to make the Olympics on the basis of their world rank. The best-ranked shooter in each of the 12 individual events will be selected separately at a time to be announced by the international federation (ISSF), provided the country does not have an Olympic quota in that event already.

Widely acknowledged and awarded as the best national sports federation in recent years, the NRAI will swing into action, once the sporting world springs back to normal life.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:04:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/bindra-suggests-revision-of-olympic-selection-policy/article31219309.ece

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