Shotgun shooter allowed into Olympic trials despite not meeting criteria

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), which is fighting a court battle over the criteria for the Paris Olympics selection trials, recently changed the rules for a shooter who was allowed to participate in the trials despite a low score. Trap shooter Karan missed the NRAI criteria for the shotgun selection trials by two points, but was allowed to compete.

In contrast, the names of several other shooters who had achieved similar scores during last year’s national championships were not considered. NRAI had announced ‘Selection Trials as per Shotgun Selection Criteria 2024 and Olympic Selection Criteria 2024 for Shotgun event’ in a letter issued in November. It said shooters with a score of 110 in the senior men’s trap during the 66th National Championships (October-November, 2023) will be eligible for the exercises to be held between December, 2023 to March 2024. Army shooter Karan scored 108 in the national championship.

NRAI allowed him to participate in the trials even though the names of more than 12 shooters with similar scores were not considered. Karan is currently ranked 15th in the series of four selection trials and has also failed to make the national team. NRAI Secretary Rajeev Bhatia told PTI that since Karan is a ‘rising’ shooter, the ‘recommendation’ for him came from the Army. In such a situation, an exception was made for him. “We made an exception because he’s an up-and-coming, good shooter. There was a difference of only two points and he is scoring well.

That’s why we have included him in the trials for the World Cup, World Championships and some (Olympics) other competitions.” He said, ”We cannot just be ‘followers of the rule book’. There was a recommendation from the Army to allow him (for the national trials) because he had performed very well in the national games (in Goa). Karan had represented the Army Sports Promotion Board in the National Games held in Goa, but in this also he stood last i.e. sixth after reaching the finals.

The NRAI is locked in a legal battle with some Olympic contenders in the Delhi High Court, where it is insisting that not more than the top five shooters in rifle and pistol will be allowed in the ongoing trials. Bhatia, however, said that being given an exception in the trials does not mean that he has been selected in the national team for international competitions like the World Cup and World Championships. When Bhatia was asked whether Karan was selected for the World Cup, he said, “No, we just gave him one chance.”

Defending NRI’s decision, he said, “Every state recommends shooters for inclusion (in the trials), and we decide on merit.” A shooter may make a poor score in a competition. Any player can score poorly on a particular day.

Disclaimer: CricketInFocus has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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