Monday, November 29, 1999

WC organisers apologise to Indian shooters

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The organisers of the shooting World Cup have apologised to the Indian shooters allegedly "harassed" in the United Kingdom, though a final report from the Indian High Commissioner is still awaited."The organisers have apologised," National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary Rajib Bhatia said on Sunday. "A meeting was held between our representatives and the organisers. I have spoken to our team manager T Padmanabhan, who was at the meeting. We have now asked for a written apology and are waiting for the letter," Bhatia added.Taking a serious view of the incident at the ISSF World Cup in Dorset, the British Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur also promised appropriate action once the High Commission report was available so that "these things do not get repeated". Kaur told the media on the sidelines of a function in Patiala on Sunday that the ministry would look into the matter. "I cannot, however, promise any action till we receive the final report from the high commissioner," she added.According to the complaint lodged by Indian team manager Padmanabhan with the Indian High Commission, the transport department officials at the event misbehaved with some of the Indians, including trap shooter and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manavjit Singh Sandhu.Talking to The Indian Express over phone from Dorset, Sandhu said terming the episode as "racism" would be too strong, but added that it had caused "great embarrassment" to the whole team. "This was uncalled for from the host country," he said.Sandhu added that following the intervention of the government, they had been informed that a written apology would be handed over to the contingent. "However, it will be really tough to forget about this issue and concentrate on shooting and get medals. With three days to go for my event, I am hoping to leave these things to the government and just concentrate on my job ahead," he added.Indian Olympic Committee member Raja Randhir Singh termed the incident as unfortunate but said once the written apology came in, the chapter would be closed.

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