The four-member review committee headed by Abhinav Bindra has strongly criticised the NRAI’s structure and lack of proper framework in governing shooters for their disappointing performance at Rio Olympics.

The ‘chalta hai’ attitude that shadows Indian sport has to be stopped. The NRAI has to shed excess flab and needs to become a lean and mean fighting machine to ensure the implementation of a system that will churn out Champions, said the report.

As confirmed by an exclusive on ScoopWhoop hours before the report was released, the committee made scathing remarks on the association’s attitude towards training the shooters while also individually assessing the reasons for the shooters disappointing showing at the Games.

The shooters themselves were not spared either, with the committee criticising Gagan Narang’s fitness, Manavjit Sandhu’s ‘inflexible attitude’ and Jitu Rai’s lack of proper preparation.  

You can read that exclusive report here.

After Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver in Athens, Abhinav Bindra’s gold in Beijing, Gagan Narang’s bronze and Vijay Kumar’s silver in London, there were high hopes on India’s shooting contingent at Rio Olympics this year. 12 shooters were participating in 18 events — by far India’s best representation at the sport in Olympics. 

b’Ayonika Paul / PTI’

As it turned out, all 12 Indian shooters returned home empty-handed from Rio. The sport that was seen as the best bet for medals at the Olympics, ended up being a source of immense disappointment.

To analyse what went wrong, the National Rifle Assciation of India (NRAI) had appointed a five-member review committee review committee, headed by India’s first and only individual Olympic gold-medallist Bindra. 

The report was completed last week and Bindra requested NRAI that the report be made public.

The committee’s report has now been made public.

Here’s an excerpt from the report which concluded that wholesale changes are needed in the sport’s governing body

To sum up the deliberations of the committee it can be said with no reservations that Indian Shooting ‘over achieved’ at the Rio Olympic Games. The formula for success was wrong and Indian Shooting had ridden its luck over the last few years, no doubt helped by some extremely talented shooters. It is the sincere wish of this committee that the NRAI closely look at its processes and the free hand given to individuals to avoid another embarrassing no show in four years time at Tokyo.

It is time for Indian Shooting to change track and learn from the disappointments of Rio. For the first time in years funds were no constraint and the NRAI needs to be patted on its back for ensuring that no Indian shooter ever complained about the paucity of funds in the lead up to the Olympics. However, was that right?

The committee was unanimous in its view that Indian shooting needs to change, change its attitude, its policies and practices, so that the booming talent gets a fair chance to flourish in a healthy atmosphere, and win all the medals that it can in the World Championships and the Olympics. The ‘chalta hai’ attitude that shadows Indian sport has to be stopped. The NRAI has to shed excess flab and needs to become a lean and mean fighting machine to ensure the implementation of a system that will churn out Champions. At present the system is adhoc. There is no systemic framework in place.

Key recommendations made to NRAI

  • The NRAI must work towards becoming a more shooter friendly organization. The NRAI needs to start taking ownership of its shooters and that in itself will lead to a lot of problems getting solved. The welfare of the shooter must lie at the heart of every activity and decision of the NRAI. The shooters go through much trouble in getting even minor matters solved. The NRAI must learn to treat every shooter at every level, be it youth, junior or senior or even a beginner with respect. It has to be in the DNA of the NRAI.
  • The NRAI should have a competent person as a point of contact who is capable of dealing with the stakeholders ensuring that everyone is on the same page, leading to effective monitoring.
  • The NRAI needs to hire competent coaches. It needs to start grooming former shooters with a long term vision. The sanctity of the national camp must be restored. The camp has to be a skill development one and cannot be confused with pre-departure camps. The NRAI will have to start taking ownership of the camps and its athletes, everything cannot be outsourced to SAI.
  • The NRAI should work with non-benign private sponsorship organizations and ensure there is no overlap of resources. The goal [of both parties] is the same.
  • NRAI should have a robust working relationship with the Services. The NRAI should also use the world class facilities of the AMU in Mhow and consider the possibility of holding skill development camps there away from any distractions. The Services have over the years provided many shooters to the Indian team and this relationship has to be tapped and enhanced.
  • The NRAI has not woken up to the demands of sport science and it is high time it does. There is a pressing requirement for hiring a professional and qualified physio for every ten shooters in a camp, be it senior or junior. The less said about the physios deputed by SAI the better. Support staff play a significant role in the development of athletes, and the NRAI should not depend entirely on SAI and take a leaf out of Hockey India which has streamlined operations and put quality personnel at all levels.