The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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We are sportsmen, not criminals: Szuchak
- India’s rifle shooting coach hits out at government, SAI

New Delhi: India’s rifle shooting coach Laszlo Szuchak accused the government and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) of treating shooters in training camps like criminals. He also felt that Indian shooting will remain off target unless the government agencies change their attitude.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the celebrated Hungarian coach, widely acknowledged as the man responsible for taking Indian rifle shooting forward, said: “Somebody, somewhere is making things difficult for the shooters here. We are sportsmen, not criminals, but made to feel we are here to steal ammunitions.” Szuchak said that the SAI provides practice ammunition for only 70 to 80 days a year, compared to 250 days in other countries.

“But even in giving that, they make such a fuss that all of us feel completely frustrated. Nowhere in the world you have to count empty shells and return them each and every day,” Szuchak said.

“I personally fill up six vouchers on an everyday basis and then only return home. Is it possible to concentrate on coaching after doing these things every afternoon'” the Hungarian coach asked.

Who did he mainly hold responsible' “I don’t know. I will not tell even if I know about it because I am their employee. But I can tell you that shooting cannot be improved in this manner. They even make a hue and cry over air pellets,” the coach continued.

“We wanted Abhinav Bindra to practise at home in Chandigarh since conditions are better there. So much problem was created in sending three boxes of pellets to Bindra. They never understood that Bindra is one of our best bets in the Olympics.”

Szuchak is unhappy that his proposal to take the Indian team to Germany for training has been shot down by the authorities.

The Hungarian said he was not looking for a change of job before the Olympics. “Frankly, I have quite a few good offers in hand. But I have a commitment towards the shooters. If they kick me out, then perhaps I will go on a job search.”

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