No support staff for Olympic shooters

Indian shooters, who are hailed are top medal prospects, are heading to Beijing Olympics without any support staff.

updated: July 27, 2008 17:40 IST
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New Delhi:

They say that of the 57 Indians participating at the Beijing Olympics, the shooters stand the best chance of winning India a medal or two. So, you'd imagine that they'd also have the greatest support in terms of a physiotherapist, a masseur or even just a doctor. But believe it or not, that's not the case. Instead they're going to have to share those resources with the other teams and even rely on each other for help.

These shooters are part of India's 9-man team in the sport at the Beijing Olympics. They've been practicing hard to make sure that the team improves on its performance from the last edition in 2004, when 3 shooters reached the final and one went on to win a silver. India's only medal at Athens. It is believed that they have the potential to do it. But what that talent lacks is an adequate support structure to back it. The shooting team is going to Beijing without any physiotherapist, masseur or doctor.

"People think there is no need for mental and physical training, there is a lot of need for physical training, a lot of stamina is required by the time we reach the evening people are so tired, a masseur is essential," Sunny Thomas, coach of the Indian Shooting Team said.

The Indian shooting federation on its part says that it's because of the Indian Olympic Association that they are not being allowed to take more than 5 officials for the shooting team.

"In the 42 member contingent, everything is included, physiotherapist, masseur, doctor, dietician and the 3 options from the IOA to handle the accounts, so we have to use them only and are not allowed separate staff of our own," Baljit Singh Sethi, the secretary of the Indian Shooting Federation said.

The visuals of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore standing on the podium in Athens 4 years back made every Indian proud and a failure not to provide this sport with the best amenities ahead of these games may not just hurt our medal chances but also the hopes of a billion fans.