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NRAI snubs shooters’ plea to relax Olympics trials criteria

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New Delhi, April 5: Some top shooters of the country, including Asian Games medallists, have requested the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) for relaxation in criteria for Paris Olympic selection trials so that they can also participate in them.
As per the NRAI’s selection criterion, only five shooters in each category based on their national ranking and Qualification Ranking for the Olympic Games (QROG) points are eligible to appear for trials.
Four trials are scheduled in Delhi and Bhopal to select the pistol and rifle contingent for the 2024 Olympic Games, with the winners booking their tickets to Paris.
The first two Olympic Selection Trials (OSTs) will be held at the Karni Singh Range here from April 18-27, while the remaining two are scheduled in Bhopal from May 10-19.
But a situation has arisen where some of the 19 shooters, who have earned Paris quota places for the country so far, are currently not in peak form, while several others have shot higher scores in national and international competitions to be in the reckoning for Olympic berths.
Besides, there are some shooters who have shot consistently well but just one rank bad score has seen them slip out of the top-five. They felt that they should also be allowed to participate in the selection trials as they had missed the spots by minimal margins.
NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia on Friday said that five shooters had written to the federation for their names to be included in the upcoming trials. “So far there is no change in the criteria. We are following them. Yes, we have received letters from five shooters requesting their names to be included in the trials, but we are not changing the criteria. There is no (NRAI) meeting scheduled (to change the criteria).”
A woman shooter who bagged an Olympic quota in 50m rifle 3 positions last year has seen her national ranking drop to 16 but she has been included in the top-5 for the trials because of the Paris berth she had earned.
“That is something I suppose is fair given that she has earned the country an Olympic quota,” said a former national rifle coach on conditions of anonymity.
Another leading men’s rifle shooter and Asian Games medallist figures in the 50m rifle 3-positions trials but does not find his name in 10m air rifle trials after his ranking dipped because of just one poor score in a World Cup.
It is learnt that two women pistol shooters, one of them an Asian Games medallist, have requested NRAI to include their names for the trials. (PTI)

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