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Jaspal Rana

India's ace shooter makes his debut in politics intending to make a difference

Jaspal Rana
Why have you joined the BJP?
Lately, there seems to be too much politics in sports. I wanted to counter it.

But why not any other political party?
I watched the debate in Parliament the other day when the United Front government was seeking a vote of confidence. At the end of the motion, I felt that no political party save for the BJP seemed to have any credibility. Despite the Congress party's long reign, not much was done for sports

Apart from politics in sports was there any other reason for this decision?
I am a great supporter of Uttarakhand. All policy decisions are taken in Lucknow. Nobody bothers to go to the hills, Recently, bureaucrats in Lucknow sanctioned hand pumps for a village at 8,000 ft. This shows what they know about the hills.

Don't you think sportsmen should stay away from politics?
Not if there's politics in sports.

Was this decision taken by your father?
No. It was my decision through and through.

Your long-term ambition is a Gold in the Olympics. How's your preparation for the Sydney Qlympics progressing?
Presently I am concentrating on the rapid fire and air pistol events.

Isn't your entry into politics at this crucial stage going to hamper your preparations?
I have joined the party from Tehri Garhwal. When I am in Delhi, I concentrate only on practicing. Politics takes a backseat.

Do you agree that your performance has been steadily deteriorating. What's the reason?
I won six gold medals and one silver medal. I equalled the world record in standard pistol shooting. Is that deterioration of standards?

But these medals were not won in an Olympic event?
Yes, I agree.

I hope your two-month-old marriage is not affecting your practice?
Not as yet.

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