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Posted at: Aug 12, 2018, 2:05 AM; last updated: Aug 12, 2018, 2:05 AM (IST)ASIAN GAMES 2018

Shotgun camp in Delhi, skeet coach training two in Italy

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 11

Two training camps at two different locations with a single objective — to help Indian skeet shooters excel at the Asian Games. Confusing? Yes it is. The national camp for the shotgun team has been underway at the Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi from August 1.

While the trap shooters have chief coach and four-time Olympian Mansher Singh working with them, the skeet shooters, Angadvir Bajwa and Rashmee Rathore, have been left to toil on their own.

The reason is that the foreign coach employed for the skeet team, Ennio Falco, is currently running a parallel camp for two Asian Games squad members, Sheeraz Sheikh and Ganemat Sekhon, at his private range in Italy under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.

For the record, TOPS was only cleared for Sheeraz and Mairaj Ahmad Khan, who is not part of the Asian Games squad. Ganemat has travelled to Italy on her own expenses. It is understood that the Italian coach may return to India on August 15, and will then travel to Palembang with the skeet team.

Last month, the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) cleared the hiring of sports psychologist Giovanna Menditto and physiotherapist Bruno Beniamino for both the shooters for a period of 10 days for a combined cost of Rs 6.13 lakh.

This peculiar situation again shows the lack of coordination between the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI). 

Even the foreign coach for trap and double trap shooters, Marcello Dradi, has not joined the camp in New Delhi. Sources said that he has not travelled due to health issues. A source told The Tribune that the training stint in Italy was cleared well before the plans to hold the national camp for the Asian Games was decided upon.

Blame game

When contacted, NRAI president Raninder Singh said that the federation was working to avoid such scenario in future. “TOPS sometimes causes such overlapping scenarios as athletes are directly in touch with SAI,” Singh told The Tribune. “However, we are working to resolve this matter at the earliest for the benefit of all.” 

SAI director general Neelam Kapur said Falco had already finished his training stint as per his contract and so the issue of overlap does not arise. “He has already finished the coaching stint here and whatever he is doing now is over and above that,” Kapur said. “We are very conscious of the fact that he has got a commitment here but he also has a commitment for the elite athletes. You cannot compare a national camp with the coaching of the elite athletes. So he is there for both and is being paid separately for both. There is no overlap,” she added.

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