New Delhi: The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) on Thursday agreed to National Rifle Association of India's (NRAI) request for exchange of quota, paving the way for participation of Heena Sidhu in the women's Air Pistol event at the 2012 London Olympics.
"The ISSF has accepted our request for [the] exchange of quota for [the] Air Pistol women event. This was conveyed to [the] National Rifle Association of India today by [the] ISSF. This confirms the participation of Heena Sidhu in this event," the NRAI said in a statement.
The Commonwealth Games champion Sidhu earned a quota place for the London Games after the NRAI decided to exchange a spot in the 50m Rifle 3 Position event, won by Imran Hasan Khan in the Asian Shooting Championship in January, with the women's Air Pistol event.
\"The ISSF has accepted our request for exchange of quota for [the] Air Pistol women event,\" the NRAI said.
Imran, despite having won a quota, was left out as India have already reserved the maximum two slots in the 50m Rifle 3 Position category – that of Gagan Narang and Sanjeev Rajput, who are ranked higher than Imran and have also qualified for the Games.
As per ISSF rule, a country is allowed to exchange one quota won by its shooters with another, subject to its availability. The NRAI unanimously picked Sidhu over other contenders that included 2004 Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Anisa Sayyed, during the selection meeting in Rudrapur in February. The NRAI had sent its selected list of shooters, including Heena, for approval to the ISSF last month.
Heena has a World Cup silver, Commonwealth Games gold and silver and an Asian Games silver to her credit.
Rathore clinched gold at the inaugural Asian Shotgun championship in Kuala Lumpur with a world-record score but that was not considered enough for the army man to earn a berth for the London Olympics.