He’s the man who groomed teen shooting sensations Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary and Anish Bhanwala who went to bag several medals at the world stage, now after getting snubbed for the Dronacharya Award second time in a row, national Junior Pistol Coach Jaspal Rana wants to know who has been misleading the selection committee.
Speaking to The Quint from Brazil, where he is accompanying the Indian contingent for the senior shooting World Cup, a furious Rana questioned the Sports Authority of India and Ministry about his role and why they had even sanctioned his travel.
“You want to give, you give, you don’t want to give, don’t give. Last year the excuse was that I’m too young for the Dronacharya award. That I’ve been coaching for only two years. All false information, every year?”Jaspal Rana
“I want to ask SAI and the ministry, why they sent me here? In what capacity am I in Brazil? With who? The government cleared the sanction for this trip right. They are paying for my stay here, and to be with the team. Why am I here? For the shooters. Which shooter? Can they name the shooter? Or am I here just for nothing,” he said.
Selection Panel Give Different Explanations
Rana’s exclusion from the list of nominees for the 2019 National Sports Award spiralled further after the committee – that includes former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia and athlete Anju Bobby George – gave different reasons for why the Asian Games gold medallist did not make the cut.
The Asian Games gold medallist, who has held the junior coach’s position for 7 years now, said he didn’t have any complaints with the selection committee, but asked if anyone was going to take ‘responsibility’.
“I don’t have any complaints with the selection committee. The selection committee must have given reasons based on the facts that have been given to them.”
“My question is, what are the facts given to the selection committee?”
“Someone misled them. How does Bhaichung Bhutia know that I’m not a national coach and that I’m a personal coach criteria person. How does he know that? Because somebody must have told him. Anju Bobby George, how does she know that I was there for only these days or not. Didn’t they see my calendar and how many days I was with the national team abroad itself,” he said.
Jaspal Rana Debunks the Claims
Jaspal Rana debunked the claims made by the selection committee and in source-based media reports, as the reasons for his snubbing.
Claim 1: Rana Didn’t Fulfil a 180-Day Criteria of Coaching
National Awards Committee member and former World Championships bronze-medal-winning long jumper Anju Bobby George said that Rana did not fulfil the criteria of having trained an athlete who has won an award, for at least 180 days at a stretch.
“We are with the shooters from 4 o’ clock in the morning till 10 o’ clock at night. What is 180 days criteria? And till now, for how many coaches who have got awards – with all due respect, they deserve it – have they seen that criteria for?Jaspal Rana
Claim 2: Shooters Didn’t Name Rana as Their Personal Coach
A report in PTI quoted a member of the 12-member selection panel for the National Sports Awards as saying that Rana had been ignored for the award after none of his proteges, including Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary, mentioned him as their coach while filing the required affidavits to come under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
But Rana says that being the national coach, he did not even apply under the personal coach criteria.
“I did not apply under the personal coach criteria. I don’t come under that category because I don’t do personal coaching. Being the national coach, I don’t have the right to be anyone's personal coach. And my name went under the national coach category,” said Rana.
“So who told them that I applied as a personal coach and Manu Bhaker, Anish and Saurabh Chaudhary have not written my name in the TOP scheme? And who said TOP scheme is valuable to this committee’s criteria?”Jaspal Rana
“TOP scheme is for the athletes and their coaches are given money on that basis. I can’t take that money because I’m a national coach. I’m being paid by SAI in any case through NRAI. So I don’t come in that category. I can’t take money from two places from the same government.”
Claim 3: Rana Wasn’t Present When Bhaker’s Gun Malfunctioned at the World Cup Final
The same PTI report also mentioned that Rana ‘had to pay the price for disciplinary issues’ having not been present during Manu Bhaker's 25m pistol final at the Munich World Cup in May this year. But Rana says he was right there.
“I was very much there.”
“But I wasn’t sitting behind the shooter because only one coach can sit behind the shooter. And at that time, Gangadhar was there. He was the senior coach. And I had no right to be sitting behind the shooter because it was the national coach’s right.”
“And it doesn’t make a difference in finals because the coach can’t talk or even nod at the shooter. That’s not allowed.”
Rana further clarified that the incident in question also took place after the 30 April deadline for the Dronacharya Award applications.
“Someone again misled them about her gun malfunction. Yes, it was malfunctioning, and the range officer came. He checked the malfunction and gave her another chance. She had another pistol – nobody knows that. It all happened in the pavilion but the coach can’t do anything. She had another pistol, she could have used another pistol. If she was somebody experienced and had this kind of problem before, she could have done it. She’s a 17-year-old kid. She’s a new kid.
But somebody must have told them that this guy wasn’t there. And by the way, that incident happened before I applied for the Dronacharya Award through the NRAI.”