New Delhi: India's junior shooting coach and former star Jaspal Rana on Friday asked the country to even go to the extent of boycotting the Commonwealth Games in order to protest the sport's exclusion from the Games in its 2022 edition and possibly beyond.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has made it clear that shooting is only an optional sport and the hosts of the Games will decide on its inclusion.
India is second in the list of medals won in shooting competitions in the CWG history. Indian shooters have won 118 medals so far.
"The government has to fight for that, not us. Because if they keep moving the events in which we (Indians) are good at, that is not good for the country," the four-time Asian Games gold medallist told reporters.
"We can boycott the competition, don't shoot in the Commonwealth Games. China did not shoot in four Olympics and when they came back they made a clean sweep."
Rana, a multiple CWG medallist, also talked about the prospects in this year's CWG in Gold Coast in April.
"The competition in CWG is less. We have to compete with our own shooters, not with opponents from England or some other (top) countries," he added.
Juniors like Manu Bhaker have grown a lot and have won medals at the recently concluded World Cup. Manu, 16, won two gold medals in the Mexico edition of the ISSF World Cup.
"Some of them are currently doing well. They are fresh, new and have nothing to lose. But the true test will be when they bounce back when they don't do well. One should be ready for the up and down phase," he stressed.
Rana also told his wards to be disciplined in their lives. "They know how to shoot, how to pull the trigger," he said. But the difference in being consistently successful lies in "discipline". "They should focus on routine work," Rana said.
Rana also has some advice for the young shooters. "Remain like kids and juniors. Public will keep them grounded if they don't perform," he said.
Rana pointed out that there is a system in place for the juniors to grow. "We have a junior training programme which has specifically planned and funded," the 41-year-old added.