National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh on Friday said Jaspal Rana, the man behind the remarkable rise of the country’s young shooters in recent years, “truly deserves” the Dronacharya Award.
Rana, a multiple medallist at top international events, is the coach who groomed teen shooting sensations such as Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary and Anish Bhanwala who went to bag several medals at the world stage.
However, despite his telling contribution in moulding the the next generation of shooters, Rana was snubbed for the Dronacharya Award second time in a row.
“Finally sir! I’ve been sending his name 3 years in a row. Closed minds and I believe the term is Polk Barrel (Pork Barrel). Anything I can do I am a call away. Merit in sport also extends to Coaches & Officials so long as they work and produce the results. Jaspal truly deserves this,” Raninder tweeted.
Rana’s exclusion from the list of nominees for the 2019 National Sports Award snowballed into a big controversy after the committee that includes former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia and athlete Anju Bobby George gave different reasons for why the Asian Games gold medallist did not make the cut.
The 43-year-old Rana’s exclusion was also questioned by the country’s only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra. Rana has been holding the Indian junior coach’s position for the past seven years and tasted plenty of success too, with his wards winning medals at top events such as the ISSF World Cup, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
Dronacharya Awards are given to honour eminent coaches who have successfully trained sportspersons or teams and enabled them to achieve outstanding results in international competitions.