New Delhi: After dilly-dallying for days, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has finally agreed to include Abhinav Bindra’s personal coach Heinz Reinkemeier in the squad for the Commonwealth Games to begin at Glasgow from July 23.
The inclusion, however, according to sources, has come at the expense of chief shotgun coach M. Padmanabhan. He has been dropped from the squad at the last moment by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
The shotgun team would now participate in the Commonwealth Games without an Indian coach.
“We had no other option but to drop the chief shotgun coach,” an NRAI official said. “The IOA said it cannot allow more than eight coaches with the shooting team. Bindra specially requested for Reinkemeier as he has been training under the German coach for a long time. Since Bindra is one of our main hopes in the Commonwealth Games, we had to agree to it.
“At the same time, we don’t think the shotgun team would face any problem as two more foreign coaches are attached with the team,” the official said.
IOA sources, however, said Padmanabhan could also have been included. “The organisers in Glasgow agreed to accommodate 10 shooting coaches. But IOA, for some strange reasons, asked NRAI to send only eight coaches and allowed the athletics team to have two more coaches,” an official said.
An Olympic gold medallist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in 10-metre air rifle, Bindra had to face a similar problem during the 2012 Olympics also when the IOA refused to include his personal support staff in the Olympic squad. The shooter contacted the sports ministry but did not receive a positive response.