London: In a shocking incident, the Indian shooting contingent, which is currently in London for the ISSF World Cup, was denied entry into a hotel here on Saturday night that left the players without any accommodation.
The hotel authorities asked the rifle and pistol team, which included India's Olympic hopefuls Gagan Narang and Ronjan Sodhi, to leave despite a confirmed room booking at the Grange St Paul hotel, after the private agency hired by the Organising Committee goofed-up on their accommodation. The team members have told CNN-IBN that later the money paid for the rooms was refunded.
The shooting federation NRAI subsequently got the Indian High Commission here involved, and a new hotel was found late at night. The NRAI is lodging a diplomatic protest along with writing a strong complaint to the Organising Committee, the International Olympic Committee and the Indian Olympic Association.
NRAI senior vice-president Avtar Sethi told PTI, "We will write to the ISSF [International Shooting Sport Federation], IOC and IOA in protest. We will tell them whatever has happened with our shooters. Whenever the foreigners come to India, we make sure that their stay is convenient. And we expect the same for our shooters too in other countries," Sethi said. "We are waiting for president [Raninder Singh] to come back from Patiala."
Sethi blamed the private agency, hired by the accommodation committee of the tournament, for the goof-up. "Our booking was till April 28 but then we extended it till the next day for our pistol and rifle shooters. We paid the balance amount to the accommodation committee but the private agency did not inform the hotel authorities about the payment and to extend our stay," Sethi said.
IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, meanwhile, said that he has asked for a detailed report from the officials who accompanied the shooters in London. "I have asked for a report [from the federation officials] as to what happened in London. After getting the full report we can react as to who is responsible. We will see whether the Olympic Test event managers were responsible or the company who did the hotel booking were responsible," Malhotra said. "But I want to say that the IOA feels sorry for what happened in London to our shooters."
The tournament doubles up as a pre-Olympic test event before the Games begin in July later this year.
(With inputs from PTI)