New Delhi: Bowing to pressure, the organisers of the ISSF World Cup in Dorset (UK) apologised to the Indian shooters who were harassed by their transport staff.
"The organisers have apologised for the incident," National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) Secretary Rajib Bhatia told reporters.
"A meeting was held between our representatives and the organisers where they apologised. I have spoken to our team manager T Padmanabhan, who was at the meeting. We have asked for a written apology from them and are currently waiting for the letter," Bhatia said.
Padmanabhan yesterday wrote to the Indian High Commission in London, complaining that the shooters were insulted by the transport staff of the event.
The Indian High Commission soon got in touch with the organisers while back home, Sports Minister MS Gill convened a meeting of the Ministry officials, asking them to get in touch with NRAI and the Indian High Commission for details of the incident.
The issue threatened to spill into diplomatic domain as Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur also took strong view of the incident, calling it "unfortunate".
According to Padmanabhan`s complaint, the incident took place on Friday when the Indian shooters were boarding the bus that took them from venue to their hotel.
The bus driver slammed the door on some shooters and left them at the range. Some of the Indian shooters, who were on board, protested the incident and were insulted by the transport supervisor.
Two days back, two Indian lady shooters had been asked to get down from a bus, Padmanabhan alleged.
Initially, the organisers tried to shift the blame to the Indian shooters, alleging they had misbehaved with the transport staff. Event manager Tom Wehnham alleged the Indian marksmen had abused a lady driver.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist marksman Manavjit Singh Sandhu, part of the Indian team in the event, dismissed the
allegation and said the Indian shooters have never been accused of misbehaving ever.
"Indian shooters are respected in the international circuit. Indians are among the prominent title contenders and their behaviour is always exemplary. This charge is really very disappointing," he said.
"The organisers were trying to defend themselves by such baseless claims. But now they have withdrawn the accusation because they know that it is a very serious one and we don`t do anything like that," Manavjit said.
"There were shooters of other countries as well and they were the eyewitness to the whole incident. Even the driver has later said on record that she was not abused and we have that video," he added.