National junior pistol coach Japsal Rana has hit out at Abhinav Bindra for taking “wrong decisions” that may have reduced India’s medal count in shooting at the ongoing Asian Games. India won a total of nine medals in shooting at the 2018 Asiad in Indonesia, including two gold.
However Rana, an Asiad gold medallist himself, said that had Bindra pushed for certain events to stay in the Games when he was the International Shooting Sport Federation’s athlete body head, India would have won a lot more medals at the ongoing Asiad in Jakarta.
“Bindra headed the seven member Athletes’ Commission for four years and now has been nominated in the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. When he was the ISSF Athletes’ Commission chairman, he could have at least asked the members in the commission to keep free pistol in the mix. There was no opposition from the Indian side and the revised list of shooting events was cleared. We could easily have won 13-14 medals in shooting at the Asian Games here had free pistol and 50m rifle prone been there,” Rana was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Rana went on to say that while the mixed team events were added to maintain gender parity, there should have been more thought on which events should be replaced. He believed that adding a mixed team air pistol event when there is already an air pistol event was wrong.
Bindra, an Olympic gold medallist in 10m air rifle, countered this by saying that it was an unanimous decision of both the ISSF admin council and executive committee.
“Anyone who understands the matter knows that this was not a personal decision. Mr Rana must look at the holistic picture and not base his thinking on emotions and his relationship with industry.
“We have to remain part of the Olympic Movement and every international federation has had to alter its programme. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president also sits on the executive board of the ISSF. The decision was thoughtful, which involved a thorough process. ISSF’s decision was completely validated when the IOC’s event-based analysis ranked the dropped events last among shooting sports,” Bindra was quoted as saying by the same report.
Among shooting events discontinued in the Olympics include double trap, 50m Rifle Prone, and 50m Pistol. The ISSF Executive Committee and Administrative Council had met in New Delhi in early 2017 to approve these changes.
The ISSF Ad-Hoc Committee had done a two-year evaluation process which recommended replacing the Double Trap Men event with a Trap Mixed Gender Team event, the 50m Rifle Prone Men event with a 10m Air Rifle Mixed Gender Team event and the 50m Pistol Men event with a 10m Air Pistol Mixed Gender Team event. This was done to also preserve discipline parity and retain 15 Olympic shooting events – 5 Rifle, 5 Pistol, 5 Shotgun.