Jaipur, Dec 9: Abhinav Bindra's Olympic gold is of no help to the country's other shooters, who are still an ignored lot, feels world record holder marksmanAbhinav Bindra with his Olympic gold medal.
"The Olympic gold will do wonders for Abhinav personally but what good it has done to shooting in India as such?" asked Sodhi.
"Ordinary shooters still have to beg and borrow for the guns and cartridges," he said as he practiced for the National Shooting Championships at the Jagatpura.
The double-trap marksman, who missed the wild-card for the Beijing Olympic just by a whisker, also felt that Abhinav's historic feat of winning the first individual Olympic gold would also be forgotten soon.
"It has happened before too. People forget too soon," said Sodhi, who equalled the world record twice in the ISSF World Cup at Belgrade, Serbia, in June.
Criticising the laxity of officials in the country, Sodhi said a lot more was required to be done for the sport of shooting in terms of better utilisation of facilities.
"You have a world class range at Jagatpura but it's unlocked for us only now. I feel that all ranges should have guns and pellets for upcoming shooters. This would broaden the base of shooting in country. The facilities are not being utilised properly," he said.
The 29-year-old shooter, however, lauded NRAI for whatever it was doing for the sport.
"It was hard to import the gun and pellets but now once you achieve a certain score you can easily import an air gun and pellets," he said.
On personal front, Sodhi, being coached by renowned Australian Mark Russel (who guided Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on his way to silver medal in Athens Olympics), said he was looking for an Italian master.
"I am being coached by Australian Mark Russel but want to have an Italian coach. It is not that Mark is not proving useful. He is very good in certain things but as far as the guns goes Italians are best," he said.
Besides, he is working on improving his concentration, lack of which had cost him dear on a few occasions.
"I am happy with the way I am shooting but I need to fine tune and try to improve on what I already have. I feel that sometimes I let go some chances. I want to improve my concentration.
"I remember despite being in lead I could finish much lower. At some other tournaments, I could perform to perfection. At Belgrade, when I shot first 30 shots correctly I sensed I can match world record and I eventually did. But I missed the 46th bird and could not break the record, just equal it.
"Earlier, too I had missed out on certain occasions and that is why I wish to work on concentration aspect," said Sodhi, who belongs to a royal famiAbhinav Bindra with his Olympic gold medal. (AFP Photo)
ly of Sodhinagar near Ferozpur in Punjab.
Sodhi said he was eying to peak in 2010 which would be a "big" year for shooters.
"This Year is not so important so we can have the luxury of experimenting with certain things. There are no quota places at stake and there will not be any important international events for a while so I will try out few things and would like to be in peak form in 2010 when Indians also host a World Cup prior to CWG in Delhi. It will be a big-big year in shooting," he said.
"There will be 10 quota places to take during Delhi World Cup. It will be a golden chance for the Indian shooters," said Sodhi.
Asked if missing out on Beijing Olympics still weighed on his mind Sodhi said he had already forgotten it.
"I could not get a wild card but it was a stroke of destiny. I have forgotten about it. I took a long break after that and I feel rejuvenated and fresh. I have started to practice and want to be in best form for the National championship here."
About the Indian shooting scenario, he said it was on a high.
"After Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore winning the silver medal at Athens Olympics it was Abhinav Bindra who won the gold in Beijing. There have been other feats like me equalling the world record twice and Gagan Narang winning World Cup final at Bangkok. We have great depth now.
"We have very good juniors in Asher Noria and Ajay Mittal apart from many others."
Sodhi said he was confident of good showing in Delhi Commonwealth Games and said the problem of shortage of ammunition have been sorted out to some extent.
"It had become a laughing stock. For three years the problem persisted and nothing could be done. It was strange. But now preparations for Delhi CWG are being taken care of. Eight shooters in each event have already been shortlisted," said Sodhi.
Regarding the flaws in the shooting range of Youth Commonwealth games at Pune recently, Sodhi said he was not there but knew of certain flaws.
"NRAI relies on DK Shukla but he basically is a man related to armoury. He has little knowledge of technicalities of shooting ranges but there is no body else and we have to look at him only."