Shooters have been a ‘disaster’, says top Indian marksman Joydeep Karmakar

India’s dismal show in shooting over the last four days at the Tokyo Olympics has become the topic of discussion, with some of the experts confused as to what has gone wrong with the 15-member contingent that was expected to bring quite a few medals from the quadrennial showpiece.

One of the renowned names of Indian shooting, Joydeep Karmakar, who competed in 50m rifle prone at the 2012 London Olympics and missed bronze by a whisker, finishing fourth, termed India’s showing as a “disaster” and called for “introspection”.

“Now I would call it a disaster! This (10m air pistol mixed team event) was a calculated and biggest hope from #Shooting #TeamIndia and lets not blame luck… rather everything gained after this can come with the little help of luck!,” tweeted Karmakar, who has competed in more than 25 World Cups and is the recipient of the Arjuna Award.

Top pistol shooter Heena Sidhu, whose husband Ronak Pandit is the coach of the Indian pistol team in Tokyo, tweeted, “Disappointing show at the 10m range today. Bad bad day for Indian Shooting Saurabh did well, he needed Manu to perform at her end. Disappointing.”

In another series of tweets, Karmakar contested the fact that the shooters were young and couldn’t handle pressure, saying, “In a level playing field no ones a kid.”

“Kids? Of course they are kids with their age, I love & will be loving them all the way as my kids too, & im close to them more than 99% ppl here. Bt as an athlete on the playing field I dont ‘undermine’ them as ‘kids’. In a level playing field no ones a kid. We will protect them… at the same time it’s our responsibility to make them strong and agile in tough situation. Somewhere we need to realize, It’s not about guns, balls or racquet, it’s your mind which is strongest equipment which can win medals at Olympics. We need introspection!” tweeted Karmakar.

Karmakar called for introspection.

“No blame game, no baseless criticism, no kids theory, No excuses, but sheer reality — WE NEED INTROSPECTION,” tweeted Karmakar.

Former vice-president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games sports manager, Deep Bhatia, told IANS that, “Shooters tried to give their best, but it seems they were not mentally trained and there was a failure on part of the coaches as well as managers (to guide them).”

Bhatia also pointed to “vested interests” in shooting sports in the country, which he said was a big reason for the dismal show at the Olympics.

“There is a lot of vested interest in shooting, especially conflict of interest, when it comes to managers and coaches,” added Bhatia, who is also a qualified international shooting coach and judge.

NRAI president Raninder Singh was quoted as saying in the media that the federation had done whatever was possible for the shooters and that there will be a “complete overhaul of the entire coaching staff”.–IANS