The special exemption from trials given to Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra should be extended to other top shooters as well, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Samresh Jung has demanded.
"It is good that Abhinav has got this exemption but I think it should not be a one-time thing. There are others like Gagan Narang, Sanjeev Rajput who are getting good scores on the international circuit," Samresh, who was named the best athlete of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, told PTI-Bhasha.
"Instead of trials, the National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) should consider the international scores for inclusion in the team," he added.
Abhinav, who has been training abroad, has not been included in the Indian squads for this month's Commonwealth Championships to be held here as well as the ISSF World Cups in Sydney from March 20-28 and in Beijing from April 16-25 after failing to turn up for the selection trials.
However, after the recent controversy, the NRAI decided to exempt the ace shooter from attending the trials for the next two World Cups to be held in Fort Benning, USA from May 22-31 and in Belgrade from June 26-July 7.
On the issue of hiring a coach on his own, a move that was criticised by the Sports Minister M S Gill, Jung said he had no choice as any further delay in appointing a coach would have hurt their medal prospects in the Commonwealth Games.
Samresh and five top pistol shooters - Ronak Pandit, Amanpreet Singh, Heena Sidhu, Ruchit Kapadia and Upasana Parasrampuria - hired renowned Ukrainian coach Anatoli Poddubni on their own to train them at the National camp. Gill criticised the shooters for taking the step, saying they could have been more patient.
"We have waited a lot. Czaba Gyorik of Hungary left just after the Beijing Olympics and no one has replaced him in the last 18 months. In India the administrators always wake up at the last moment.
"We had an opportunity before us and we availed it rather than wait for the federation to wake up," said Jung, who fetched seven medals, in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
"Other countries are far ahead in training. They have specific coaches. In Pistol shooting only we have five events thus every shooter needs personal attention. We don't regret our decision as nothing has been done in this regard in last 15 days," he added.
On his medal prospects at the Commonwealth Games, Jung said it would be difficult to repeat the golden success of Melbourne edition.
"I have participated in all four medal events in Melbourne which seems to be unlikely now. We have many talented Pistol shooters now and the competition is tough.
Of course, I will try to get selected in maximum events," said the ace shooter.
Jung was also optimistic about getting enough ammunition for practice this time.
"The problem is not that serious this time. I hope we will get enough ammunition for practice. The Sports ministry has also liberalised and rationalised procedures for import of weapons and ammunition and resale of used weapons by renowned shooters. I think it will help us a lot," he said.