Yashaswini Deswal barred from shooting nationals for participating in unauthorised league

The Tokyo Olympics quota winner and 21 other shooters face sanctions from the NRAI.

By Utathya Nag

National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), on Friday, banned 22 shooters, including Tokyo Olympics quota winner Yashaswini Deswal, from participating at the national championships.

The sanction was imposed on the shooters for taking part in an unauthorised online shooting league, organised by former shooter Shimon Sharif during the lockdown in July last year.

Yashaswini Deswal and the other shooters participated in the league despite the NRAI – the shooting regulatory body of India – issuing a notice that the competition was not authorised by the governing body.

The circular had also pointed out that any Indian shooter participating in the competition will face disciplinary action.

“For Yashaswini, the ban will be applied next year, as she will be preparing for the Tokyo Games this year,” NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia told the Times of India.

For the other shooters, the ban will be in effect from this year. The ban was finalised at NRAI’s Annual General Body meeting on Friday.

The 23-year-old Deswal from New Delhi is one of Indian shooting’s rising stars. She is a 10m air pistol specialist.

At the 2019 ISSF World Cup held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Deswal beat Ukraine’s Olena Kostevych – a former Olympic and world champion – to bag gold and win India a quota place to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Yashaswini Deswal was the last of the nine Indian shooters who have won a quota place for Tokyo 2020.