The Indian squad that just won the Commonwealth Shooting Championships in the UK, has brought back more than just 13 gold, six silver and eight bronze medals. They’re also carrying some bad memories. According to the Indian shooters, who included Jaspal Rana and Mansher Singh, the behaviour of their British hosts bordered on racism.
In a report in The Hindustan Times, the Secretary General of the National Rifle Association of India, Baljit Sethi recalled the day when India won all four gold medals. “Every time the Indian flag went up, the murmers increased…I could make out from their expressions that they were appalled at the clean sweep by India. I brought this to the notice of the President of the Commonwealth Shooting Championship, Graham Hudson of New Zealand, and a senior official, Peter Anderson of Australia. I told them that they (the English) still feel that Indians are their slaves. They were pushing us (into) a corner so that we could not win medals.”
If one is to go by what national coach Sunny Thomas has to say, the British certainly have to answer for a lot. Indian shooters were put up in cramped 6 feet by 6 feet rooms and even denied second helpings at mealtime. “They made our lives miserable by putting hurdles at every juncture so that we could not win medals.”
Mansher Singh, who won gold medals, gives a damning statement against the English: “It happens only in Britain,” he said.