New Delhi: It was not a day well spent for Heena Sidhu as the aggrieved shooter could not meet, and possibly discuss, with National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) chief Raninder Singh about her exclusion from the Asian Games mixed air rifle team.
The former World No.1 and Commonwealth Games gold medallist travelled from Patiala to the national capital, hoping to meet the NRAI chief and express her grievances with the tweaking in the federation’s selection policy.
The 28-year-old Heena has been ignored for the Asian Games mixed team air pistol — an event where she has excelled since its introduction last year.
“I spent the whole day waiting to meet with president and now he has assured me that he will meet me Sunday. I have known him to be a very fair and objective person and I hope that he will uphold the values of transparency and merit and not let schemers get away with their technical manipulations,” Heena said
Athletes plan their calendar and strategy based on the policy and now we feel cheated and fooled by the federation. Shooting is measurable sport and not let subjective human biases pollute it
Heena, who recently won a gold medal in 25m pistol event and a silver in 10m air pistol event at the Commonwealth Games, claimed that the selection committee was bending the rules to favour certain individuals.
According to Heena, the NRAI’s selection committee tweaked its policy and flouted with the existing selection criteria by including young pistol shooter Manu Bhaker in the Asian Games and World Championships squads, despite not meeting the selection requirement.
Bhaker’s inclusion pushed Heena to No.2 in the 10m air pistol event and No.3 in 25m sports pistol, from No.1 in the 10m air pistol and No.2 in 25m pistol. The new rankings mean Heena cannot shoot in the 10m mixed event and is excluded from the 25m pistol team. However, Heena will be competing in the air pistol individual event along with Bhaker.