Shooters' road to Rio begins here.
THE timing of the 56th National Shooting Championships is debatable, given that a glut of rule changes will be introduced into the sport from January 1, 2013.
However, the National Rifle Association of India has decreed it this way, and the shooters have no choice but to give it their all one last time according to the old rules.
At 9.30am on Thursday, the first shot is expected to be fired in five competitions -- the men's 10m air rifle, the men's 50m ( free) pistol, the junior men's 25m ( sports) pistol and trap men and women. A total of over 2,300 shooters are expected to take part, in categories like senior, junior ( under 21), youth ( under 18), civilian etc.
Asked about the timing of the event, which ends just two days prior to the rule changes, NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia said it was done keeping in mind the junior shooters.
" The entries for next year's junior competitions, according to the ISSF ( international body) have to be on the basis of the age of the shooter on 31st December of the previous year. That's one of the reasons we kept the Nationals in December, so that our juniors don't lose a year," he told M AIL T ODAY . " In addition, the rule changes will require the shooters to practice for a while before they can compete, and thus it was proposed that the Nationals and the selection trials will be held as per the extant rules, and once the national squads are selected, the shooters can get down to practising for the upcoming World Cup cycle, which begins in March- April."
For rifle and pistol shooters, though, there is an additional factor to consider -- a change in the selection policy.
The NRAI accepted that the Point- Based Ranking System it had adopted a couple of years ago was too cumbersome and complicated, and an easier Moving Average Method has been proposed by a subcommittee of the technical committee. The policy is to be implemented for a minimum of one year starting with the Nationals, and takes into account consistency across the last nine months, as well as the current form over the last three months.
Most shooters contacted by MAIL TODAY were unaware of the change, but were nearly unanimous in saying that the new system ' made more sense' than the previous one, because it gives more weightage to present form, and allows shooters to catch up with their competitors.
Under the new system, the average of the best five of a shooter's last six scores ( base score) is added to the average of his/ her last two scores. The sum is divided by two to arrive at a Final Average Score ( FAS).
As per the new international rules, which will feature an elimination format in the finals rather than the adding of scores, all scores will be taken from the qualification rounds.
However, making the finals and winning a medal in World Cups, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian championships and the national championships will be rewarded by the addition of bonus points to the qualification score for that competition.
Finalists at the London Olympics will get bonus points added to their FAS, according to a pre- determined points system. This will only be valid between this year's Nationals and the next, while the bonus points for World Championships performance and winning quota places for the country for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics ( both starting in 2014) will be decided later.
The proposal is expected to be adopted by the technical committee at its meeting on Sunday.
Over 2,300 athletes to take part in championships
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