Bindra feels frustrated, NRAI retorts he is to blame


New Delhi/Chandigarh: A visibly frustrated Abhinav Bindra Saturday said he was getting demotivated by the pinpricks of the sports officials and wants to be left alone so that he could concentrate on his shooting.

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Bindra, India’s lone Olympic gold medallist, issued a lengthy statement explaining how he was treated and went to the extent of threatening to quit shooting because he was left out of the Commonwealth Championships on the grounds of not attending the trials.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) tried to clear the air by saying that the sports ministry was in touch with him and all the rules and regulations for selection were formulated by the department of sports.

NRAI secretary-general Baljeet Sethi hit back at Bindra, saying the shooter has only himself to blame for the turn of events.

Reading out a statement, after keeping the media waiting for over two hours at his sprawling farm house here, Bindra said he is distressed at the way his professional training has been “discounted”. He pleaded with the sports ministry and the NRAI to allow him to stick to his training schedule which produced results for him.

“It is quite unfortunate and extremely distressing for me that my point of view is not being appreciated and respected. The present situation leaves me very frustrated and upset, and it does not really leave me with much motivation. It disturbs me and makes it difficult for me to focus on the sport,” Bindra said.

Bindra went on to say that he does not expect to do well if he is not allowed to train on the modules prepared by his professional support staff.

“Shooting is a very mental sport. I have to be in the right frame of mind to concentrate and focus on shooting well. I don’t see the chance of success if I am not allowed to train and compete the way my professional team has planned.

“These modules have worked very well for me in the past and have helped me become the world champion as well as the Olympic gold medallist.”

Bindra requested the ministry and the NRAI to recognise his performances at international events and take these results into account for selection.

“I have requested the sports minister and the NRAI that from now on my international results be regarded as a benchmark for my selection, so that I can focus on my training programme and methods.”

The NRAI in its clarification stated that Bindra and other shooters were sent a mail Aug 24 about the selection norms for all international events, including the Commonwealth Games. It also released the correspondence between the ministry and Bindra.

Sethi said Bindra, in a letter Sept 22 last year, had confirmed his participation in selection trials for the Commonwealth Games and other international competitions, but never showed up.

“Bindra was clearly told that he should participate in the Masters at Indore, two selection trials at Pune in September-October and the national championships if he has to qualify for the Commonwealth championships.”

But Bindra insists he came for the trials in December only to know that there were none. He, however, is silent on the Indore Masters, Pune trials and national championships the ministry has picked for selection.

“I was communicated through a letter by the Ministry of Sports in July and September that the NRAI had intimated that I must participate in the selection trials in December 2009, Commonwealth shooting championship in February 2010 and in ISSF World Cup in March 2010.”

“I gave my confirmation in September 2009 about my participation in these events.”

“I planned my training in Europe accordingly and came back specially for the trials in December 2009 only to learn that there were no trials taking place. Instead, I travelled to Europe and competed in Luxembourg to establish my present performance levels and shot scores of 596 and 595.

“Subsequently, the team for the Commonwealth shooting championships February 2010 has been announced without my name featuring in it,” said Bindra, who will be travelling to Europe to consult his professional team before deciding his future course of action.