After Field Hockey, Shooting has been the highest source of Olympic medals for the country. As such, it was only natural that the shooting contingent had a lot of expectations riding on them before the Rio Olympics last year. However, disappointment was on the cards after Indian shooters failed to make a mark at the Games.
There may have been a few remaining dregs of hope for the sport for the upcoming World Championships, but disappointing news from the camp speak of impending disappointment. Startling news coming in before the ISSF World Shotgun Championship in Moscow suggests that the Indian team is training without their longtime coach Marcello Dradi.
As if that was not all, the absence of the team’s national coach too was noticed on the first two days of the five-day long preparatory camp. Neither was the team issued the required ammunition for training before the camp. There was reportedly a single day delay before the proper equipment was made available.
There has been speculation that Dradi may choose to fly to Moscow directly to rejoin the team, but the fact remains that pre-tournament preparations for the Shooting Worlds are being neglected. How far this will affect the performance of the participating athletes remains to be seen.
It is interesting to note that such chaos comes after the Government announced the formation of a special Olympics Task force which would work towards targeting the right kind of athletes in preparation for future editions of the Olympics. It was a move that was highly lauded at the time following India’s disastrous display at the Olympic Games. But such lax efforts from appointed and salaried coaches definitively goes on to show how complacent the authorities are about an event as large-scale as the World Championships.
A lack of foresight is clearly visible here. Add that to the fact that the Indian contingent will land in Russia merely two days before the commencement of the tournament and, thus, will have no chance to adjust to the changed geo-climatic conditions of the country, and one can safely conclude that medal hopes from the tournament are slim. With the amount of competition seen at the Worlds, sub standard preparations such as these reduce the competition that Indians can put up against their global counterparts.