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We have got backing of international para body to host shooting World Cup: PCI secretary general

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) Suspended Paralympic Committee of India's (PCI) secretary-general Gursharan Singh on Monday said that his organisation has got the backing of the international parent body to host the Para Shooting World Cup at the Karni Singh Range here next month.

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The sports ministry had suspended the PCI on February 2 for not holding elections on time which had put the hosting of the Para Shooting World Cup in jeopardy.

Singh told PTI on Monday that he had received a communication from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) that the PCI is the only "authorised" body to conduct the country's first-ever Para Shooting World Cup from March 6-15.

"We've got a communication from the IPC today. They (IPC) have written to the Government of India and said that the NPC (national paralympic committee) is the sole agency for paralympic movement in India and we have been authorised to conduct the event," Singh said.

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"The World Cup is on, there is no problem. We have spoken to the IPC and they have said that the national paralympic body (PCI) is the nodal and sole agency to conduct the World Cup here," he added.

It is not yet known what the position of the government would be after the latest development. Repeated calls and messages to SAI director-general Sandip Pradhan to get a response on the matter went unanswered.

It could be a huge embarrassment for India if it does not host the tournament which offers 24 Paris Paralympics quotas. But, at the same time, the tournament cannot go ahead without government clearance.

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Singh said the IPC also wants the government and PCI to work together.

"We also want the same thing," he said.

The ministry had suspended the PCI after the four-year term of the office-bearers had ended on January 31 and, as per the government guidelines, the elections should have been held before the expiry of the term.

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The PCI had to schedule the election on March 28 because of the impending Para World Cup and it said it had informed the ministry about it.

The ministry suspended the PCI after giving the no-objection certificate (NOC) for the World Cup, and asked the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to "co-ordinate with the IPC to form an ad-hoc committee to undertake the task performed by PCI".

Asked if the IPC will agree to an ad-hoc committee to run PCI, Singh replied in the negative.

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"The IPC did not accept their (ministry proposal for ad-hoc panel) and never will, as we have not breached any obligation of the IPC. The government has also already given the NOC to host the World Cup," Singh claimed.

"But we will speak to the government and if we have good coordination, then only we can make the event a success.

"We will once again request the government to lift the suspension. We have written it before but haven't received any response from the government," added Singh.

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The Karni Singh Ranges belong to SAI and an event of such magnitude will require the PCI to work in co-ordination with the government body to ensure the facilities are in place for the prestigious event.

Another PCI official told PTI on condition of anonymity that the response for the World Cup has been huge and the national body was trying to arrange more hotel rooms for foreign shooters and officials.

"We had initially arranged around 230 rooms in luxury hotels but we would need another 70 rooms given the response of the shooters," he said.

More than 500 pistol, rifle and shotgun shooters from 52 countries are expected to compete in the last tournament of the qualification cycle. Several top Indian para shooters are also in the fray. PTI AM AM PDS PDS

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