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NRAI Bows Down To Abhinav Bindra's Pressure

After creating a furore by threatening to quit, Abhinav Bindra had his way with the shooting establishment on Monday  agreeing to consider the Olymic hero's international scores for inclusion in the team for the third
PTI January 18, 2010 19:49 IST
PTI

After creating a furore by threatening to quit, Abhinav Bindra had his way with the shooting establishment on Monday  agreeing to consider the Olymic hero's international scores for inclusion in the team for the third and fourth World Cups to be held later this year. 

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), however, made it clear that Abhinav's inclusion in the first and second edition of the mega-event and the Commonwealth Shooting Championships was out of question as the squads for the three events have already been approved by the Sports Ministry. 

NRAI has also requested the Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi to intervene and sort out the issue, which created a flutter after the Beijing Olympic Games gold-medallist expressed his desire to quit. 

"Being the IOA president, we have asked Mr Kalmadi to talk to Bindra and settle the matter. We have called his father A S Bindra for a meeting tomorrow and asked him to bring Abhinav's international scores alongwith him," NRAI secretary-general Baljeet Singh Sethi told reporters here. 

"But Abhinav's selection in the first and second World Cup and Commonwealth Shooting Championships is impossible. We will consider his international scores for the next two World Cups. 

"The teams have already been selected and the government has also given its approval, so we can't make any changes right now," he added. 

India's first and only individual Olympic gold medalist Abhinav is upset at being repeatedly asked to appear in trials and feels NRAI should instead accept his scores in tournaments abroad for selection. 

However, the Sports Ministry later deviated from its set norms and said any selection process that leaves out the best talents is faulty and it would have no issues if the NRAI exempts Abhinav from trials. 

Abhinav, who has been training aboroad, has not been included in the Indian squads for next month's Commonwealth Shooting Championships to be held here as well as the ISSF World Cups in Sydney from March 20-28 and in Beijing from April 16-25 as he failed to turn up for the selection trials. 

However, after the recent controversy the NRAI decided to exempt the ace shooter from attending the trials for the next two World Cups to be held in Fort Benning, USA from May 22-31 and in Belgrade from June 26-July 7. 

Asked whether Abhinav's exemption from trials would set a bad precedent, Sethi said, "Obviously, if we exempt Abhinav from trials other shooters will also demand such exemption in future.

"But when the government is us asking to do that, we can't do anything. We will have to sit with the ministry officials and work on this issue." PTI