Skeet coach Falco resigns but keeps hope

Wants selection veto; NRAI, SAI won’t allow this

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 20

Italy’s Ennio Falco, the shooting coach attached with the Indian skeet team, has resigned from his post. Falco, who has been with the Indian team for the past six years, wrote to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Monday, informing them of his desire to move on.

Ironically, he sent his resignation on the day he received an SAI email indicating that his contract, which expired in August, was to be extended till September 2021.

Falco had been in touch with both NRAI and SAI over new terms and one of the key sticking points was his insistence on veto authority to select at least one shooter in the skeet team. Even though both SAI and NRAI are keen to extend his stint and negotiations are still on, this contentious issue is not likely to be agreed to by either SAI or NRAI.

‘Unfair trial system’

“Yes, I have sent my resignation yesterday,” Falco told The Tribune on Tuesday.

“I have been in contact with NRAI and SAI and wanted a few things. I wanted to choose one shooter for the team, which is very difficult to get in the Indian system. I have been here for six years and I think the trial system is unfair on young shooters as they have to wait for months to get a chance to try and get selected. We are still talking, let’s see how it goes,” Falco added.

Falco, who has won over 50 international medals in skeet, including gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, has a few coaching offers, including one from a Middle East country, but he is still hopeful of continuing in India.

“I have a great offer from a country which is willing to agree to my system. I have one week to respond to their offer but I am hoping that some good news comes from India soon… And if it does, I will surely return,” the skeet legend said.

‘Grateful for India’

Falco said that he was grateful for his time in India. “I am so grateful for my time so far in India. I can’t make you understand how important India is to my life,” he said. “Everyone, including SAI and Raninder (NRAI president), accepted me and I was never troubled. So, if my time is to get over now, I will cherish my time here and would like to believe that I did something good in terms of development of skeet shooting in India. Three (Olympics) quota places in six years is a good result for me.”

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