Now, that we have Bindra who has brought glory to our country, normalcy has begun to set in. By normal I mean that our shooters are again short of ammunition and there seems to be no help coming from the government. National Rifle Association of India managed to acquire a license to import ammunition after the Sports Authority of India (SAI) asked it to directly import. But with no funds forthcoming, NRAI is unable to import. It is apprehensive that the license will lapse without them having bought any ammunition.
According to Sunny Thomas, our national shooting coach, there has not even been a single camp held after the Olympics. At a time when we should have permanent camps, there is no camp being organised even for the top-notch shooters due to sheer lack of ammunition. This, indeed, is shameful. After the wonderful promises made by our government to focus on the sport of shooting, it is back to its normal mode of indifference. Actually, our shooters are being taken for granted because they win despite all the resistance and apathy that they have to face. As long as they bring home the glory and keep each other motivated, no one bothers about them. The authorities know, the shooters will shout and scream themselves hoarse for better treatment, but even if they don’t get that, they will be treated well. Look at Gagan Narang. The man almost made it to the final round of Olympics but lost out. Taking all that in his stride, he set a world record in the World Cup finals, winning gold in the men’s 10 meter air rifle event. This is despite the fact that there has been no support from the authorities, imagine what all he can achieve if he were to get the red carpet treatment that our cricketers do. Each country has a national sport and a sport which receives the maximum attention. But generally, it is ensured that all other sports do not suffer as well. On the other hand in India, cricket seems to be It, it’s considered the “be all and end all” in our country. A small cricket series manages to get front page coverage while someone who sets a world record in shooting has to make do with a small little coverage on him. Will we ever be able to look beyond the mass hysteria created around cricket?
I wonder what if our shooters and other suffering sportsmen were to go on some kind of strike. What if they stop participating in international and national events? Would our authorities finally sit up and take notice? Would we, the public, raise a hue and cry about this? Or would our sportsmen only be the losers, losing whatever little chance they have of glory? The cynic in me tells me that their strike would receive only limited attention, soon diverted to the ‘breaking news’ of a cricketer hurting his pinky finger.
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