New Delhi: Top Indian shooter Sanjeev Rajput on Sunday found his rifle broken while flying back home after participating in the ISSF World Cup finals in Poland.
Rajput found that the butt of his rifle was broken into two pieces when he landed at the New Delhi International Airport in an Air Lufthansa flight from Munich.
Rajput, who has already qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in 50m Air Rifle event, blamed the Lufthansa Airlines staff for the damage to his rifle alustock.
"I was coming back from the World Cup finals at Wroclaw in Poland from September 17-23. But to my horror when I landed here I found the alustock of my rifle broken into two pieces. I blame the Airlines staff for this. They mishandled my weapon," Rajput said.
He rued that he will have to use a new rifle and it could impact on his performance.
"I have been practising with this rifle for so long and now I have to change my weapon. I have to start with a new rifle and it will affect my performance. My performance may go down," he said.
"I am hoping that the Airlines replace the broken one with a new weapon. I hope the Airlines will cooperate on this. But I don`t know how long it will take to get a new weapon, may be six months," he said.
Coach Sunny Thomas said that the Lufthansa Airlines should replace the gun or pay the compensation.
"The airlines should pay or replace it. I think the authorities here have sent a report to their headquarters that the gun has been broken inside its aircraft. It may take time though to get a replacement or get monetary compensation because of the formalities," he said.
In 2006, Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore`s shotgun was lost in transit while travelling by the same Lufthansa Airlines.
Last year, Joydeep Karmakar`s rifle also broke into two pieces while coming back home from abroad by the same airlines.