Following the Rio Olympics earlier this year, Abhinav Bindra led an NRAI review committee to find out where it all went wrong for India. As a recommendation, the Bindra led committee has reported India needs a systemic remodeling in the management of various sports.
The four-member committee was led by Indian professional shooter Abhinav Bindra and also had Asian Games Gold medal winning Tennis player Manish Malhotra who acted as the convener. Senior sports journalists Kamesh Srinivasan and Digvijay Singh Deo also were appointed as members of the NRI review committee.
The committee has submitted a 36-page report after a close analysis of Indian shooters’ dreadful performance in this year’s Olympic Games. The committee holds athletes, coaches, NRAI and SAI responsible for the lamentable display while recommending a professional approach in the forthcoming competitions.
The review committee has cleared its standpoint in several statements, “The committee was unanimous in its view that Indian shooting needs to change, change its attitude, its policies, and practices, so that the booming talent gets a fair chance to flourish in a healthy atmosphere, and win all the medals that it can in the World Championships and the Olympics,”
The committee also pointed out the dismal condition of the current system in the governing bodies of sports and had gone vocal about the “chalta hai attitude” of sports in India. "The 'chalta hai' attitude that shadows Indian sport have to be stopped. The NRAI has to shed excess flab and needs to become a lean and mean fighting machine to ensure the implementation of a system that will churn out champions. At present the system is ad-hoc. There is no systemic framework in place," the committee reviewed.
NRAI president Raninder Singh revealed that it was not a review of an external organization rather the recommended implementations of an internal report, “this report is not for a blame game. It is not an outside committee foisted on us, it’s an internal report.”
The committee analyzed the performances of individual participants such as Gagan Narang, Heena Sadhu, Ayonika Paul and Jitu Rai. According to the report, the Indian shooters had underestimated the competition in the Olympics, “Everyone took it for granted that there would be progress automatically, and forgot to ensure a systematic healthy process.” The review committee has accused Heena Sadhu of for making her husband her personal coach, for which “some tough calls” in the shooter’s events were avoided.
The review committee also revealed that Sadhu did not collaborate with the national coach Pavel Smirnov, “There was no collaboration with the national coach Pavel Smirnov, which did not help the situation."
The Bindra led committee also said the rising shooting prodigy Ayonika Paul misled the sports ministry on the details of her coach, “There were two coaches working with her, Thomas Farnik and Suma Shirur. They are clearly not equipped or mentally ready to shoulder the responsibility,” the review further stated. The committee also accused Paul of misleading the ministry for “financial gains”.
Another Indian shooter Jitu Rai was criticized in the assessment for being unable to develop a working relationship with the national coach. Pavel Smirnov, the national coach was also included in the final assessment of the NRAI review committee. “The committee feels that the foreign coach Pavel Smirnov did not have the expertise in the precision events to help Jitu Rai win an Olympic medal.”
The 33-year-old Gagan Narang was accused by the committee of not sticking to the training plan following a heel injury before the games, “Coach Stanislas Lapidus was very clear that his training schedule was not followed by Narang, which was informed many times to the NRAI. However, no action was taken.” The review also revealed that NRAI wasn’t notified about Narang’s heel injury.
Foreign coach Stanislav Lapidus was also found guilty of misleading the committee by saying funds for Apurvi Chandela were not released on time. However, the president of NRAI revealed that the future of the coaches were safe.
The committee recommended the NRAI to organize national camps liberally than to depend on SAI and the allocated funds before concluding. The Indian team only had a single day of camp before the Olympics where most of the big names were absent.