Abhinav not to take part

HYDERABAD Oct. 22 Abhinav Bhindra, a member of India's shooting triumvirate, will not take part in the Afro-Asian Games.

He will return to Delhi from his training base in Colorado Springs in the United States on Thursday but has informed both the Sports Authority of India and National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) of his decision not to take part in the Hyderabad competition. He practises with the American shooting in the US and his regimen includes mountaineering.

Professor Sunny Thomas, Chief coach of the Indian team confirmed Bindra had contemplated the step at Milan itself during the World Cup finals. He had informed Baljit Singh, Secretary General of the NRAI of the move from there. From the Italian city, Bindra did not accompany the team back to India, but returned to the US, since his tickets had already been booked.

Bindra had also been advised against taking part in competitions for a while by his American coaches as well. His weapon wasn't shooting too well either. When he last contacted Prof. Thomas a couple of days ago, Bindra had been ill. A long haul flight and the resultant jetlag would hardly have helped in peaking for the competition scheduled at the Hyderabad Central University's shooting range.

The thrust is on preparations for the Olympics next year, since a medal there means much more than other competitions, Prof. Thomas said. — Our Special Correspondent

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