By Tom Degun

May 17 - The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) have accepted an apology from the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) over the alleged harassment of their shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu (pictured) at a World Cup event in Dorset.

The apology came after an incident took place on Saturday when a team bus driver named Mike allegedly insulted Indian ace trap shooter and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sandhu.

The driver then shut the door before the Indian shooter could get in, leaving him stranded at the range despite protests from the rest of the contingent.

Sandhu then revealed that transport officials at the event had also been very rude with two women shooters in the Indian contingent.

Following the incidents, Indian team manager Muthukrishnan Padmanabhan wrote to the Indian High Commissioner in London outlining what had happened and asking them to intervene and speak to the event organisers.

The Indian Sports Minister M S Gill also held an urgent meeting with his officials asking for more details on the episode after media reports quoted players as saying that the Indian contingent was being targeted and it could affect the performance of the team.

But NRAI secretary general Baljit Singh Sethi revealed that the team was happy to receive an apology from organisers after news of the incidents threatened to cause national outrage.

Sethi said: "They apologised after we lodged a protest with the International Sports Shooting Federation.

"An apology has also been received by the government through our High Commission there as the contingent had taken up the issue with them.

"The man who insulted our shooters was a local manager appointed by the organisers.

"He was not in charge of the bus, which incidentally we had hired on recommendation of the organisers.

"He had no business to come into the picture over a trivial matter of Manavjit not boarding it in time."

 "It is recognised by all parties concerned that these issues are simply due to misunderstandings and all issues have now been addressed to the satisfaction of both the Indian shotgun shooting team and the Local Organising Committee," said Padmanabhan and Peter Hill, the chairman of the organisers.

"An apology has been made on behalf of the Organising Committee for any misunderstandings which may have occurred on both sides."

But Sethi also claimed that Indian shooters were discriminated against during the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.

He said: "This is not the first time the shooting contingent has been insulted in such fashion in the United Kingdom.

"During the Manchester Commonwealth Games we were discriminated against in the lunch room but we chose not to complain.

"I feel it is a clear case of jealousy after Indian shooters have started doing so well, probably even deliberate attempts to spoil their concentration."

Sandhu said: "Shooting is a mental game and Indian shooters may not be able to do so well here.

"The organisers made counter allegations saying we had misbehaved with a woman driver but even she has refuted the claims."

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