Bindra should have pushed double trap case: SodhiSeptember 19, 2017
PUNE: Former World No. 1 and two-time world champion in double trap, shooter Ronjan Singh Sodhi feels the shotgun event could have stayed in the Olympics had Abhinav Bindra pushed the case a little more.
Double trap has been axed by the International Shooting Sports Federations (ISSF) from the Olympics cycle to maintain gender equality at the Games. But Sodhi rubbished the idea and said the decision has jeopardized future of many junior Indian shooters. “In India we have a legacy in air rifle and double trap. I feel double trap’s removal from the Olympics is the biggest loss for India as our juniors in this event are one of the best in the world,” Sodhi, in the city to attend the closing ceremony of a sports meet, said.
“Abhinav Bindra was in the committee and he understands the sport well. I feel looking at the Indian scenario, he should have pushed for it a little more,” Sodhi said.
When asked whether Bindra had any power to change the decision, he said, “It was a collective decision, but most of the decision makers were rifle and pistol shooters. I think being the ISSF Athlete Committee’s chairman, Abhinav should have explained things to other members probably better. The only shotgun shooter in the committee, Luciano Rossi (Italy), was all for double trap,” Sodhi explained.
“Also, it is disheartening for the juniors. You should have given them at least one Olympics cycle. They could have taken double trap off the Games after the Tokyo Olympics. You can’t tell them (in between a cycle) that it is finished now,” the London Olympics participant said. “All of a sudden you expect the player to change to trap. It is like asking a tennis player to play squash suddenly.”
The event has been replaced by mixed-gender trap event. “The mixed events are a joke. Don’t make me say more,” Sodhi said and added that the new event won’t help the sport in any manner. “If just having a girl and a boy shoot together can make it a spectator sport, then I don’t know what to say.”
Talking about his own career, the shooter said he has given his playing career a break, but is ‘investing’ time in promoting the game. Sodhi can also be credited for spotting talented Shapath Bhardwaj, who recently became the only junior from India to qualify for the World Cup Finals.
“He came to the range three years ago, so I made him shoot. I have seen so many youngsters, but this guy was special. He had something in him, which I had not seen in any other junior. So I looked for somebody to coach him, someone with a sound technique. I recommended him to Yogendra (Pal Singh). Shapath comes from a humble background. He values opportunities. When focus of other kids these days is all over the place, he is very dedicated towards his sport,” he said about the teenager.
Shapath’s mentor said the junior will shoot double trap only till the Asian Games.
“I have asked him to shoot double only till the Asian Games. Post that, he will switch to trap. He has got the mental capacity to adjust to trap. Everybody has got technique, but he has the mental fitness to win in trap too,” he said.
About his own shooting, Sodhi said, “I have not been shooting since last two years but I will be competing in the nationals this year. I will see how it goes and accordingly will take a call on preparing for the Commonwealth and Asian Games.