Elections over, NRAI under intense scrutiny

Elections over, NRAI under intense scrutiny

The dust and grime which elections to the National Rifle Association of India have generated in the last few weeks may not  recede soon.

In India,  any election pertaining to a National Sports Federation usually generates huge interest. Reasons for it vary, but more often than  not it is the controversies and court cases which are the main factors.

Elections to the NRAI are also expected to follow a similar trend, perhaps for the first time. One has to  admire the guts and conviction which President Raninder Singh has for sweeping the election. Even as the controversy rages whether he has completed a full three terms or by way of interpretation he can enjoy an extended tenure till December 2022, whereby he will complete 12 years as per the National Sports Code, what is noticeable is the control he has over the federation.

Congratulations to the President and team for winning the elections in Mohali on Saturday. Raninder has spoken and communicated through social media (Twitter) extensively on the elections. Elections done and dusted, the real games will begin now.

Raninder is seized of issues relating to the elections being “sub judice” as there is a  case pending in the Delhi High Court which was initiated by the Uttar Pradesh State Association, an affiliate of the NRAI. Shyam Singh Yadav, who was contesting against  Raninder was outnumbered massively in the elections. He heads the UP association.

However, a lot of action can now be expected from, first, the Sports Ministry itself. As the guardian of Indian sport, it is easy for NSFs (National Sports Federations ) to cry wolf and infringement on their autonomy. However, given the flak which the Sports Ministry has faced in the past in the Delhi High Court, they are well within their rights to issue directions to the NRAI.

Objections were raised on the returning officer and also candidature of one particular official. All this cannot be swept under the carpet with a giant broom.

Where the NRAI needs to act speedily from here onwards relates specifically to the sport. To say that the show from the shooters in the Tokyo Olympics was a disaster would be an understatement. The promised independent review must take place fast. And this is something which Raninder Singh had promised.

For Indians shooters to fire a blank in two successive Olympics — Rio and Tokyo — is heart-breaking. There is no point in indulging in blame games. The NRAI showed speed of a rapid fire pistol shooter in sacking the two foreign coaches — Pavel Smirnov and Oleg Mikhailov.

Great beginning that.

Now, sack the Indian coaches also who were unable to deliver in the Tokyo Olympics. They are the ones who messed up big time. Shooters were confused, there was a lack of discipline in the lavish national camp in Croatia. Worse, the Indian coaches who overshadowed the foreign coaches have no qualms about the flop show. To think it will be forgotten will be a huge mistake.

The amount of money spent on shooters by the Indian government is huge. There is need for accountability. Then again, the Asian Games in Hangzhou are less than 12 months away. The sport used to be on auto-pilot mode. Not anymore. Hire foreign coaches in all disciplines which are priority.

Thanks to time being spent on the NRAI elections, no team was sent for the Asian Airgun Championship recently in Kazakhstan. And that, despite selection trials being held in August at the Karni Singh ranges in Tughlakabad.

The results which Indian athletes achieved in the Tokyo Olympics was bright. It could have been brighter had Indian shooting delivered.

Raninder Singh and his new team can continue with their legal battles and also engage with the Sports Ministry in coming months. Lovers of the sport do not care about it.

What lovers of the sport care about is restoring the glory of Indian shooting. Yes, the NRAI is under intense scrutiny.

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