Jitu Rai’s coach didn’t have expertise to help shooter win Olympic medal, observes Bindra-led review panel

New Delhi [India], Oct.05 : In a scathing report, the Abhinav Bindra-led NRAI review committee has astutely observed that Jitu Rai's foreign coach did not have the "expertise in the precision events" to help the ace shooter win an Olympic medal.

"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.

Rai's admission of his inability to find a working relationship with Smirnov further put the shooter in a precarious position of coming up with his own training plans," the report said, adding his extraordinary talent "was taken for granted" to deliver a medal in the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet.

Considered as India's biggest medal hope in the lead up to the Rio Olympics, the 29-year-old Army marksman failed to live up to the expectations as he finished eighth in the men's 10m air pistol final and missed qualifying for the free pistol final with a '7' on the penultimate shot.

"The lack of expertise for the best shooter in India despite no dearth of support from the Army and the government further highlights the lack of proper planning.

Any level of talent is irrelevant without correct preparation for the Olympics," the report by the four-member committee added.

In air pistol event, Jitu had posted scores of 96, 96, 98, 96, 98 for a total of 580. In the final, a string of 9s cost him progress towards a medal. The Indian Shooting unit returned empty handed despite clinching highest number of quota places (12) for an Olympic Games.

National Rifle Association of India President Shri Raninder Singh had instituted a four-member review committee to identify in a "cold and ruthless" manner the reasons for shooting not winning a single medal at the Games.

The performance of each of the 12 shooters was assessed and scrutinized by the panel, however, Bindra, who narrowly missed out on a medal at the Rio Olympics, recused himself from the deliberations and recommendations regarding this section.

"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 'chalta hai' attitude that shadows Indian sport has 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," the report further said.

Source: ANI