Stung by the criticism of its selection policies, the National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) has revamped the criteria, agreeing to consider international scores of shooters in some cases.
Insisting that the revamped policies will have no bearing on the teams selected before March 13, the NRAI said the changed criteria will cover selection of the teams till the London Olympic Games in 2012.
Only 12 top marksmen would be eligible for the national shooting team.
"The selection process would start with effect from the National Shooting Championship (NSC) of a particular year by identifying the top 12 shooters who would be eligible for selection for the National Shooting Team.
"The scores shot by shooters at the NSC is the mandatory base score. Based on various parameters being followed, categorization of shooting teams shall be in three broad categories -- NET (National Excellence Team), NAT (National 'A' Team) and NBT (National 'B' Team)," the NRAI said in a statement.
The Federation said two to three trials would be held every year and the first would be mandatory for all.
"Under normal circumstances, there would be two selection trials, but in the year where there are late ISSF competitions, there could be a third selection trials.
"It is mandatory for a shooter to shoot the first selection trial but he could get his/her scores replaced in the subsequent trials by substituting it with the trial score of designated ISSF championships. This option, the shooter has to avail by informing the NRAI of his/her intention prior to the trials," the statement read.
The NRAI didn't consider international scores earlier and matters came to a head when Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra threatened to give up the sport after being repeatedly asked to come for trials, which disrupted his training schedule abroad.
The NRAI said World Championship and Olympic medalist would be entitled to some merit points as well.
"Merit points will be given to shooters for excellence in their performances for winning in either the Olympic games, World Championship or World Cup finals. The points for Gold, Silver and Bronze medal will be 3, 2, and 1 in that order.
"Similarly merit points will also be given for ISSF World rankings up to rank 15. Rank 1 to 5 a shooter will earn 3 points, from rank 6 to 10 it will earn 2 points and from rank 11 to 15 it would earn 1 point," the NRAI said.
The NRAI, however, made it clear that those winning Olympic quota places would not get automatic selection to the mega event. "Olympic quota place will belong to the nation and those representing the nation at the Olympic games should be the country's best shooter at the time of the Olympics. However, the winner of a quota place for the Olympic games will get 1 merit point", the NRAI said.
"The merit points for winning medal, world ranking and winning the quota place would get added to the aggregate score of the shooter at the time of selecting the team.
"Overall, the policy for selection is transparent, futuristic and ensures that the best team for a designated championship always represents the country," the NRAI statement said.