NRAI consults Bindra for hiring next pistol coach

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has sought Beijing gold medallist Abhinav Bindra's help before settling on a suitable person to fill the only vacant slot in the Indian coaching team — that of a foreigner for the role of pistol coach.

Bindra, as a member of ISSF athletes' commission, has been asked to check the claims of few of the names recommended to the NRAI. Slovenia's Sergei Gumeniuk is one of those being recommended to replace Anatoli Poddubny, who took over only months before the London Games, but whose contract was not renewed by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Not much is known about Gumeniuk, except that he won a silver in air pistol and a bronze in free pistol as a junior shooter at the European Championships held in Copenhagen (1978) and Skopje (1976). "Bindra, as a member of the athlete's commission, can check the antecedents of the coaches for us. We want only the best here," NRAI president Raninder Singh told The Indian Express.

Apart from the pistol coach, the NRAI has sewed up the contracts for all other coaches - Italian Ennio Falco (skeet team), Daniella Del Din of San Marino ( junior shotgun team - both trap and double trap) and Marcello Dradi (trap and double trap). Their appointments are expected to come through on February 20, when the NRAI officials are scheduled to meet the SAI brass.

Officials barred

Meanwhile, NRAI's Punjab affiliate, headed by Manavjit Singh Sandhu's father, Gurbir Singh, has barred two of its office-bearers to appear for the scheduled April 6 election of the national body. Sandhu was following up on the NSF's directive to rid individuals who had participated in the general body meeting of the suspended Indian Olympic Association. Raja K Sidhu and Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, secretary-general and vice-president in the Punjab body have been barred. Also in the firing line is Anurag Thakur, the Himachal shooting federation chief, who was elected as one of the IOA vice presidents.

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