Asian Games: A gold medal in shooting lost due to last-minute rule change by organisers?

At the current Asian Games, shooting has contributed 17 medals so far, out of which six are golds.

mehuli ghosh rudrankksh patil asian games 10m air rifle mixed team

In what could have been another gold medal opportunity for India in shooting at the Asian Games, the 10m air rifle mixed team of Rudrankksh Patil and Mehuli Ghosh were robbed of this chance. This happened due to the last-minute rule change by the Asian Games organisers, who allowed only one team from a nation in the mixed team events.

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Rudrankksh and Mehuli are India’s top 10m air rifle players in the men’s and women’s sections and have already secured the quota for the Paris Olympics. But here at the Asian Games, as the second Indian team, they could not participate in the mixed team event.

As per the National Rifle Association of India’s (NRAI) policy, which states that only the top-ranked shooter in the discipline can be part of the mixed team at the time of selection, Divyansh Panwar and Ramita Jindal made the cut. Divyansh and Ramita, however, missed the 10m mixed air rifle bronze medal by a whisker, finishing fourth.

Rudrankksh Patil & Mehuli Ghosh Tell Their Tale

Mehuli, who won the women’s team silver in the 10m air rifle event teaming up with Ramita and Ashi Chouksey, said the rule change robbed her of participating in another event. “There is a policy which is already decided by the NRAI. As per the policy whosoever is No.1 ranked in men and women when the team is decided, they are selected for the mixed event,” Mehuli told PTI.

“I was actually selected for the mixed event when the team was announced. I was there in the mixed team in Group B but later on, we got to know that only one team could play and that had to be the Group A team, so that was the change at the last moment.

“First we knew two teams were supposed to play but a few weeks before the Asian Games we got to know the Games organisers decided that only one team can play,” she said. Mehuli said the level of competition in the country in her event is very close.

Level of Competition in India

“The No.1 and No. 2 teams are decided on performance basis but you know the scores are so close, our averages are so close. So, it is very difficult to decide which team is the best at that point,” she said.

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Rudrankksh too said he didn’t perform in the mixed team because of NRAI’s policy. “I wasn’t ranked No. 1 in India. My personal plan, which we had decided with the coaches, is that because I have an Olympic quota, I have direct eligibility in the Asian Games. So, I didn’t have to play the trials, instead, I used that time for recovery and training.

“My ranking was reduced, other players like Divyansh and Aishwary (Pratap Singh Tomar) shot really good in the past few months and because of that they climbed to the top 2 ranks,” he said.

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