Shooters hit by lack of funds

Shooters hit by lack of funds

Shooters Joydeep Karmakar and Heena Sidhu, who were given a late nod for the quota places for the London Olympics, claimed on Saturday that they were yet to have their training budget sanctioned for the Games. 

Both had failed to get the quotas in the qualifying events but were rewarded for their consistent work by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), awarding them two of the 11 quota places which India won. However, the two feared slow reaction from the government will hamper their preparation. Sidhu said she had sent her budget proposal in February.

“I had sent my budget from January to the Olympics (of approximately one crore) which included training, travelling and coaching. But so far we have got no response from the Sports Ministry. I sent my request in February while many of them sent in January,” Sidhu said on the sidelines of an event by Mittal Champions Trust (MCT).

“So far only four--  Abhinav Bindra, Shagun Chowdhary, Ronjan Sodhi and Manavjeet Sandhu – have had their budget sanctioned. We do not know anyone in the Sports Ministry. The latest we heard was that it has reached NSDF and is being processed.”

Karmakar said things were getting tougher for them with no word from the government so far.
“The NRAI had forwarded our requests and it was also sanctioned by the government but we haven't received anything so far," said Karmakar. “MCT has been a big support. But there is a  limit to which they can support us.”

NRAI Secretary-General Rajiv Bhatia, however, said sanction was delayed because of their late entry. “The final selection was done on February 19. Since both Heena and Joydeep were late entrants to the Olympics list, their recommendations went late. Heena's recommendation was also delayed because of the selection issues. Their budget will be sanctioned soon,” Bhatia said.

Earlier, MCT Trustee Lakshmi N Mittal said he was pleased to see ten athletes from MCT qualify for the Olympics. “We hope to see many more athletes qualify for the Olympics and win medals. That will make me happy. The competition is very tough and everyone is practising hard. We have to give these athletes, who have been training for the last four years, our full support. We will continue the trust even after the London Olympics,” Mittal said.