NRAI sends Heena Sidhu`s name to ISSF

New Delhi: Sticking to its guns, the NRAI has sent its selected list of shooters, including Heena Sidhu, to the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), putting to rest speculations over Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore`s chances of competing in the London Olympics.

After a meeting held on Monday, a top National Rifle Association of India official told PTI that there was no change in their decision to nominate the name of Heena Sidhu over Rathore.

"NRAI has sent its request to ISSF to exchange quota place of 3 position men with (10m) air pistol women event for Heena Sidhu," the federation said in a statement.

Prior to the meeting, speculations were rife that the NRAI might reconsider their stand on Rathore, especially after the ISSF expressed its willingness to accommodate the double trap shooter if India decides to replace Sidhu.

Rathore had won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He also clinched the gold medal at the inaugural Asian Shotgun championship in Kuala Lumpur with a world-record score. But that was not enough for the army man to earn a berth for the quadrennial extravaganza.

"That (speculation over Rathore) should be over now. NRAI is firm in its decision," the official said. Sidhu earned a quota place for the London Games after the NRAI decided to exchange a spot in the 50m Rifle 3 Position event, won by Imran Hasan Khan in the Asian Shooting Championship in January, with the women`s Air Pistol event. As per ISSF rules, the NRAI is entitled to swap a quota for one event with another.

The NRAI unanimously picked Sidhu over other contenders that included Rathore and Anisa Sayyed during the selection meeting in Rudrapur last month. NRAI president, Raninder Singh, will address the media about the Indian shooters` preparations for the Olympics tomorrow.


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