NRAI’s new coaching panel to function from March

Saurabh Chaudhary in action at the Tokyo Olympics
Saurabh Chaudhary in action at the Tokyo Olympics

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) will appoint new coaching staff, including foreign experts, to oversee national camps from next month, Kunwar Sultan Singh, secretary general of the NRAI, said on Thursday.

Post the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the NRAI expressed its disappointment over the performance of the Indian shooting squad in Japan. To streamline the system, the Indian shooting federation disbanded its coaching staff and initiated the process of shortlisting a new coaching panel.

According to Singh, the process of screening the candidates for the new coaching panel is underway. The NRAI is hopeful the list of coaching staff will be finalized by the end of this month.

“The list of candidates is huge," Singh explained. "It’s taking time to sort out the final list. We will also select chief coaches in rifle, pistol and shotgun."

The NRAI will also screen experts to train deaf shooters.

“It will be a separate coaching staff that will specialize in sign language to train deaf shooters for international competitions,” Singh revealed.

As part of the ongoing national camp in preparation for the upcoming ISSF World Cup in Cairo, the NRAI roped in senior coaches. This was because preparations for the World Cup overlapped with the screening of candidates for the new coaching system.

Ace pistol shooter Saurabh Chaudhary is among 24 shooters selected for the national shooting camp that got underway at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi on February 9.

Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in India, the national selection trials scheduled earlier in January were postponed. The NRAI selection committee decided to consider the qualification scores along with the final ranking points of the 64th National Shooting Championship Competition, to arrive at the final rankings for selection of the shooters for the upcoming Egyptian World Cup.

The World Cup, scheduled to begin on February 28, will be the season’s first international competition for the Indian team. The national shooting team will compete in individual, mixed and team events in Egypt.

Air rifle shooters Divyansh Singh Panwar, Sanjeev Rajput, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Anish Bhanwala and teenage pistol shooter Esha Singh are other prominent shooters in the national team.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee