Tuesday, August 31, 2010

CWG Selection Trials

I think, as sportsmen, we all go through the adversities created by our sports officials some time or the other.

Basically - our previous selection policy was-
selection trials are held for competitions in the forthcoming 2 months calender (and if someone has won a medal in the immediate past or had an exceptional performance then he is excused form trials, if he so desires with permission of Federation)

Hence after taking 2009 off I planned to start training by Jan 2010 and be in form by Jun 2010 for World Shooting Championships (WSC) 2010.

However in Mar 2010, we got stumped by the Federation when they announced a new selection policy. The new policy was to follow a system of adding up all scores shot by shooters and averaging them out. The highest aggregate gets selected.

The problems-

1. The policy was implemented in Mar 2010 but scores were retrospectively taken from previous months like Feb 2010...giving rise to prejudice and bias

2. Scores shot by Indian shooters abroad in different (mostly better) conditions were to be compared to scores shot in humid, hot and windy conditions prevailing in the summer months in India.

3. Taken by surprise, since i was not in form in early 2010, i was left with a huge score deficit to catchup in the later selection trials (in Indian conditions)

4. Interestingly the same policy was for Rifle and Pistol shooters too but was amended for them but not for Shot Gunners. So we had a situation; one federation but different selection policies. Again, revealing bias.

5. The whole atmosphere of Vindictiveness, created by the sports administrators did not leave me or some of the other shooters with a positive frame of mind to overcome the odds stacked up.

6.The policy laid down some grace marks for Olympic/WSC medalist but decided that 2004 Olympics being in distant past did not warrant grace marks (as if the experience is limited by 4 year life cycle of each Olympics)

Its now interesting to hear the officials say that the matter was never brought up to their notice, was it not, really!!!

Interestingly, I was in Italy in Jun 2010 where the World Cup Shooting (WCS) was scheduled. In a WCS if there are inadequate number of shooters then the vacancies in the shooting squad have to be filled up by a zero shooter (his scores are not officially counted towards the medal prospects for that competition). So, I got the opportunity to shoot as a zero shooter there. However, upon learning of this the Indian federation, immediately issued a verbal diktat to all shooters that no one is to take part as zero shooter, without the permission of the federation. A permission that they would not give. Normally, I would believe that a federation promoting sports and its sportsmen would want its shooters to get as much opportunity as is possible to shoot and demonstrate their caliber. Or was it that, the federation did not want any anyone other then those selected to throw up a brilliant performance. Why should actions of a sporting federation raise questions.

I have tried to maintain as positive an attitude as is possible, even today as the news is breaking out on the TV and other Media. I do believe there is a higher good for me despite these troubles. I know the strength of the Indian Shooting Team and hence am looking confidently at all those selected to win at the CWG Delhi. By all accounts, the shooters are only growing stronger.