Thiruvananthapuram: Here’s good news for those who wish to follow in the footsteps of medal-winning Olympic shooters like Vijay Kumar or Gagan Narang. Two shooting ranges, of world-class standards, would come up in the district soon. The first range is expected to be inaugurated by the end of this month at the CRPF camp, Pallippuram, while the second one, for which proposals have been submitted by Shooting Sports Foundation India (SSFI) to SAI (Sports Authority of India), is likely to be set up at Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE), Kariavattom, once the SAI top brass accept the proposal.
While the need for building a shooting range, that popped up in the minds of SSFI office-bearers, including its president and national coach Sunny Thomas, after the Kerala Cup shooting competitions held at Technopark here had received overwhelming response from the participants, it was the fairly decent performance of the shooters in the Olympics that infused the much-needed momentum to the projects.
“The performance of the shooters in the London Olympics made a large section of the public enthusiastic towards the sport. On the night that Vijay Kumar grabbed the silver in the rapid-fire pistol event, we received almost 20 calls, all requesting for a membership in SSFI. The shooting scene has received a boost after the Olympics and we want to carry along that hope and enthusiasm the sports lovers have on us,” said SSFI secretary general Roshin Mathew.
The 60-m shooting range which has been used by CRPF men was renovated and is ready for action. The range has 15 lanes, which means 15 people can practise at a time, and the targets have been fixed. The facility, which is housed on an acre of land, can hold rifle, pistol and rapid-fire pistol events. According to the organisers, various camps and championships can be conducted here as the arrangements are of supreme quality.
The proposal to build a 10-m range is also on the cards at SAI, LNCPE, Kariavattom. The SSFI officials have contacted the SAI officials seeking permission to install the facility on the college campus. The proposal, which is now before the SAI regional officials, would soon be forwarded to their head office. Given the potential of the sport in bringing laurels to the country, the permission is likely to arrive soon.
“The proposal will be forwarded to Delhi and based on the directive from there further decisions would be taken,” said SAI Kerala Regional Director Dr G Kishore. Once the nod comes from the top, the range can be completed in no time. Then, air pistol and air rifle events can be held here.