The mission to decode India’s poor performance at Rio 2016 continues. After the Government set up a task force to look into various matters, related to Olympic sports, it is the turn of the National rifle association of India (NRAI).
The NRAI have set up a five member review committee to probe the performance, or lack of it, of the Indian shooting contingent at Rio 2016. It must be recalled that India sent as many as 12 shooters to Rio 2016, who had qualified for a combined 18 events.
India‘s first and till date, only, individual Olympic gold medallist, Abhinav Bindra, has been named chairman of the committee. Bindra, incidentally, was one of only two Indian shooters, the other being Jitu Rai, who advanced to the finals of his competition.
The objective of the committee will be to “examine and identify in a cold and ruthless manner” the causes behind shooting not securing any medals at the Rio Olympics. It is also required to recommend concrete steps to be taken by the NRAI to prevent similar debacles in future.
The performance was especially disappointing as shooting had contributed medals in each of India’s last three Olympic campaigns. Also, the NRAI has received lucrative funding over the last four years. They reportedly received as much as Rs 43.36 crores from the Government between London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Right after the Indian shooters’ campaign in Rio, NRAI President Raninder Singh had taken upon himself the blame for the dismal outing, saying it was a mistake on his part to allow the athletes to train with personal coaches.
“We have made a tactical blunder in allowing personal coaches on their own. We will introspect this in future,” Singh had said. Bindra opined, “You can’t change what has happened. We have to look at how the future is being prepared and nurtured.
However, Bindra has recused himself from questioning the shooters as he was himself a part of the team. Bindra, who retired from the sport after his fourth-place finish in Rio, has told NRAI that though he would not question any of his teammates, he would remain open to any assessment by the review committee.
The text of the NRAI order states that in “matters specifically pertaining to the interview or findings/conclusions if any against or in favour of any Olympic team athlete that maybe examined by the committee, the Chairman of the committee shall be exempt participation in toto from such tasks by recusal, however upon his own request he too shall make himself available for interview by the remainder of the panel.”
The order continues, “for this specific issue only, the remaining members of the commission shall officiate jointly, where majority view shall prevail”.
The committee also includes former tennis player, Manisha Malhotra. Malhotra, who retired in 2004, has been appointed Convenor of the committee. NRAI secretary, Rajiv Bhatia, and two journalists complete the committee.
The committee, which is likely to meet by the end of the month, has been asked to submit its report to the President in a maximum of 4 weeks.