New Delhi: Credited for moulding the likes of Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala, junior shooting coach Jaspal Rana was a notable omission from this year's Dronacharya Award recommendations but the national federation stood firmly behind him, saying he is the "best candidate" for the honour.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said the acclaimed marksman, who uses his rich experience and knowledge to guide the upcoming shooters, should have been considered.
He was overlooked despite consistently producing results as the Indian junior team coach for pistol and rifle shooters.
"We are convinced he (Jaspal) was the best candidate for the award," NRAI president Raninder Singh told PTI.
The national shooting federation's president, though, was hopeful that the multiple Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medallist would soon be bestowed with the honour for his contribution to the sport.
".... it is for the empowered panel to decide on merit and we trust such an accomplished and talented coach will very soon be considered favourably at the next such opportunity," Raninder added.
The Dronacharya honour is given by the Government of India for excellence in sports coaching.
Star Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu's coach Vijay Sharma and veteran cricket coach Tarak Sinha are among the seven candidates recommended by the selection committee for the Dronacharya Award.
Along with Sharma and Sinha, the other coaches nominated for the prestigious award are Clarence Lobo (Hockey), Jeevan Sharma (Judo), and CA Kuttappa (Boxing).
One of the biggest names missing was Jaspal.
The 42-year-old was at the forefront of the junior shooters' rapid growth in the last couple of years, with his wards winning medals in not just junior but senior international tournaments too, including in the recently-concluded Asian Games in Indonesia.
Teen sensations Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary and Bhanwala grabbed podiums and headlines with their fearless approach, with Japsal, in their own words, playing a key role in their success.
In the just-concluded ISSF World Championships in Changwon, South Korea, which also marked the beginning of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifying cycle, the juniors once again exceeded expectations.
India returned with a record 11 gold, nine silver and seven bronze, and the junior shooters accounted for a majority of the podium finishes.
Updated Date: Sep 18, 2018 22:08 PM