Throwing his weight behind Ronak Pandit and Heena Sindhu, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) chief Raninder Singh on Friday said “we have to fight more here than there”, in an apparent dig at the Sports Ministry’s move to drop 21 names from the IOA’s list of non-athletes as part of the contingent for the Gold Coast bound Commonwealth Games.
Among those dropped from the Indian Olympic Association’s list include PV Sindhu’s mother Vijaya Pusarla, Saina Nehwal’s father Harvir Singh and shooter Heena’s husband Pandit, who is the High Performance Director of the Indian pistol and rifle team.
Raninder gave his assurances to Heena and Ronak, who is her technical coach besides being an observer, in a series of tweets.
“The NRAI is clearly willing to pay for our observer, who is an integral part of our team. It’s almost as if we have to fight more here than there! .The issue shall be accreditation. I am willing to opt out as I think to have him,” Raninder wrote on his twitter handle.
The NRAI president also sought to allay Heena’s concerns. “Hinna please don’t pay any attention to all this nonsense. Ronak will be there I assure you. Just put all this out of your mind and focus on your task. We will deal with this I assure you.
“NRAI will ensure he is there its our team which is India’s team which is SAI/GOI’s team which is IOA’s team so who needs other countries to compete with, how will the gun permits be transferred? What will our team use to shoot?. No one seems to care or understand. (sic)”
“Besides, I need him for the team other than you individually. Smile and get on with it.”
IOA president Narinder Batra yesterday questioned the ministry for raising “unnecessary issues” about the family members of Commonwealth Games-bound athletes travelling with them, asking it to apply the same standards of probity for its own bureaucrats.
Raninder twitted, “One cant club Ronak in the same category as parents. The parent thing one can understand but why keep picking on this young man so often? There clearly seems to be a strange bias against the young man – wonder why?”
Meanwhile, Heena made it clear that Ronak is her technical coach. “I have never lied, never cheated. I have always stayed true to my sport. I have been shooting for 11 years now and training with Ronak for the past 6 years. And for 6 yrs I have been having this fight. Be it funding for my coach, travel or even acknowledgement. I am mighty tired. I just want 2 put it out for everyone that Ronak is my TECHNICAL COACH. Anybody who has spent even 5 mins on the range will know I have only one coach and that’s Ronak. He is also team manager for shooting.. the heading shud read as Sindhus Mom, Sainas dad and Heena’s coach axed.”