Shooter Ayonika never misused the TOP scheme fund, claims her father Asim Paul

Written by: Sujata Sarkar
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Bengaluru, Feb 12: One of India's most renowned female rifle shooters Ayonika Paul will again come back, believes his father Asim Paul.

Asim Paul spoke on his daughter’s miserable show in the Rio Olympics and being axed from the Indian women’s team for the upcoming shooting World Cup in New Delhi.

File photo: Ayonika Paul

He said: “It was her technical mistake on that particular day in the championship. She failed to perform in her event (10-metre Air Rifle) in the Olympics. She has admitted and has again set her mind to come back.”

Ayonika was highly criticized in the Abhinav Bindra led investigation committee’s report. She had to face the wrath of the committee not only due to her failure in the Olympics but also for not having spent the Union Sports Ministry’s financial grant under the scheme of Target Olympics Podium (TOP) in a proper manner.

Ayonika’s father, however, refused to accept the blame. Speaking from Mumbai over the phone, Mr. Paul said: “I do not know how the committee has made such report. I have read it thoroughly. But I strongly disagree with the observation that we did not spend the money properly, received from the government.

"We spent it exactly as per the sports ministry’s guideline.” It was learnt that Ayonika made mistake in projecting her coaches before taking the Union Sports Ministry amount.

Her father continued: “The report has mentioned that Ayonika had projected two coaches in her application and that created controversy.

"Ayonika had started preparing for Olympics eight months ago before Rio and right from the beginning she had maintained that Suma Shirur was not her coach!”

Trying to play down the dispute he added: “Suma has always been her physiotherapist. We had mentioned about that in our project already much before the Rio Olympics and her coach was Thomas Farnik, the legendary Austrian coach.

"But Farnik is costly. That is why it was not possible for Ayonika to continue training under Farnik all the time.”

According to her father, Ayonika will again train under Farnik in near future. The 24-year old shooter who won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games has resumed fitness training at Mumbai.

Asim Paul concluded saying: “Ayoknika is going to finish her Masters soon. Then again she will resume practising under Farnik. She might go or the coach himself might come to train her in Mumbai."

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