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Posted at: Mar 13, 2018, 1:50 AM; last updated: Mar 13, 2018, 1:50 AM (IST)

Not a single govt-run shooting range in Haryana

Not a single govt-run shooting range in Haryana
Haryana shooters Anish Bhanwala, 15, and Manu Bhaker, 16, are tipped to be India’s next big hopes. file

Gaurav Kanthwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12

Haryana’s shooters are fast making a name for themselves on the international stage, but it is an irony that the state that is reckoned to be No. 1 in sports in the country does not have a single full-fledged, government-run shooting range.

All the shooters from Haryana who have won international medals have either trained at their personal shooting ranges or at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting complex in New Delhi. A former Haryana state champion, who did not wish to be named, said, “There is no shooting range, whether government-run or a private, for the 25m events in the state.”

The No. 1 state in sports in India organises its state shooting championship in Delhi by taking on rent the Dr Karni Singh Shooting complex. To compete in the national capital, shooters are forced to stay in rented apartments, hotels or dharamshalas, depending on their finances, near the shooting range. It makes sense, then, that the Haryana Rifle Association, on paper registered in Sonepat, actually functions from New Delhi.

This at a time when Haryana’s shooters  are at the forefront of India’s continued good show in the sport. The state’s shooters were declared overall champions in the 61st National Shooting Championship Competitions (NSCC) for Rifle/Pistol in Thiruvananthapuram in January. More recently, two of the state’s teenaged shooters were part of India’s historic performance in the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, that ended on Sunday.

Out of range

The custodians of the sport in the state — the Haryana Olympic Association, Haryana Sports Department and Haryana Shooting Association — all combined have been unable to provide a single range with bare minimum infrastructure to Haryana’s shooters.

The state shooting body, recognised by the state government, has Gurugram MP Rao Inderjit Singh as its president. Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij inaugurates shooting competitions at borrowed/rented venues once in a while and, surely, is aware that the state must have a range of its own. Haryana Rifle Association general secretary Ashok Mittal said, “We conducted the state championship in July last year at the Dr Karni Singh range by paying a rent of approximately Rs 5 lakh. Land, funds and government clearances are a big issue in having a full-fledged range.”

Individual brilliance

However, all such infrastructural shortcomings pale in front of the individual brilliance of Haryana’s shooters on the national and international stage. Two of Haryana’s shooter — Manu Bhaker, 16, and Anish Bhanwala, 15 — are tipped to be India’s next big hopes.

Manu earned her spurs in the 10m air pistol event by training in a manual shooting range in her school, 25km from her home in Charkhi Dadri. Anish and his family left their hometown Karnal to settle in New Delhi so that the children could train at Dr Karni Singh range.

It is also a strange coincidence that the state has no infrastructure for a sport in which the children of top bureaucrats in the government are competing at the international level. Some of them compete in events which require a small shooting range, available in schools, colleges and universities, or can be set up at home as well. Considered an elite sport, shooting is nobody’s baby in a state where three groups claim to be the ‘real’ Haryana Olympic Association and are jostling for credibility. Yet, the sport has picked pace in the state in the last four-five years.


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