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Asia Olympic Qualifiers: 'Unfair to disqualify Manavjit'

Source: PTI
January 14, 2024 20:14 IST
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IMAGE: Manavjit Singh Sandhu was on Saturday not allowed to take part in pre-event training and, on Sunday, was disqualified from competition. Photograph: Edgard Garrido/Reuters

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) termed the disqualification of trap shooter Manavjit Singh by organisers of the Asia Olympic Qualifiers in Kuwait as 'unjust and unfair', and is ready to take the issue to its 'logical conclusion'.

The NRAI also said that the rules quoted by the Asian Shooting Confederation (ASC) while barring the former World champion from competition due to a faulty gun stock were 'unsubstantiated and frivolous'.

Manavjit was on Saturday not allowed to take part in pre-event training and, on Sunday, was disqualified from competition.


Manavjit had alleged on Saturday that the technical director, Abdullah Hamidi, was playing politics, perhaps because 'they were scared' of India winning the Olympic quota.

NRAI senior vice-president Kalikesh Singhdeo told PTI on Sunday that the issue had been taken up with both the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) and ASC.

"The NRAI is taking it up with the ISSF and ASC. Last night, we lodged an official complaint with the ISSF and the ASC stating that the comments of the technical director (of the tournament) are grossly unfair and unjust.

"We want the ISSF to rule on this particular Asia (Qualifiers issue) because the rules that have been quoted by the ASC, the organising committee and the tournament director, we believe are unsubstantiated and frivolous and they are being convoluted to work against Manav in this case.

"We intend to fight it (disqualification) and get clarity. We believe that Manav's stock and the gun completely conformed to ISSF regulations. In fact, he has shot with the same gun at the 2016 Olympics and many World Cups afterwards.

"There has never been an issue on that front. And even in this competition (in Kuwait), from what I understand, the jury had cleared him and then Manav was recalled and then this particular incident happened," added Singhdeo.

Singhdeo indicated that this was probably the final opportunity for Manavjit to qualify for the Paris Olympics and expressed his sympathy with the shooter.

"Unfortunately, this was the last quota competition, so as a result we have one of our shooters who couldn't compete... and Manav was in good form. We have lodged a protest and and we have also filed an appeal with the ISSF jury and we intend to take it to its logical conclusion," he added.

There is, however, one more Paris qualification event, the ISSF World Olympic Qualification Tournament (shotgun) in Doha in April.

"There is one final quota competition (in Doha) and we'll have to see how it pans out now," said Singhdeo, indicating if the ISSF verdict is in Manavjit's favour he might be on the flight to Doha in April.

"Depending on his ranking as per the NRAI policy and how much the issue of this particular gun stock and whether this stock would be allowed or not in the future (Manav will or will not compete in Doha)."

Asked about the issue with the stock, Singhdeo said, "As far as I understand, there is only one issue with the stock... that it should not be more than 170cm from head to toe and Manav's is below that. So we have to see... I'm sitting here in India and I don't know what exactly they've (organisers) pointed out."

Asked whether the stock was made for Manavjit in India or was the fitting done abroad, Singhdeo said he is 'unaware' of that.

"That's something only Manav can tell. I am unaware of where he got his stock made, what gun he uses, frankly."

On whether the NRAI has a list of authorised stock-makers in india, he said, "I don't think NRAI would be in any way connected with authorising anybody to retrofit weapons."

On whether there were people in India doing the retrofitting, Singhdeo said, "Again, I am not particularly aware of the issue but you have gunsmiths. So, whether it can be done, of course it can be done. That's what the job of a gunsmith is, to repair, retrofit, adjust weapons."

Asked if he would ensure a proper "weapons control" in India to avoid such issues in future, he said there's "never ever been a reason for NRAI to do weapons control around shotgun" earlier as this has never happened before.

"For shotgun, this is the first time, frankly, we've ever seen an issue. In trap, no way does it (stock) actually help or hinder you. It's only about the fit on the shoulder. There's never been a reason to do weapons control around shotgun because there is only one rule and that is your stock shouldn't be more than 170cm from head to toe.

"Manav, where he rests his cheek (head) to toe (shoulder), was 160cm but his butt was a little bigger at the back.

"Also there is a rule that is vaguely written and it's now been interpreted in a certain way (by the ASC) and I can't think of any precedence," he added.

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