Life continues at an unhurried pace at the North Calcutta Rifle Club, seemingly unperturbed by Joydeep Karma-kar’s stellar show in London on Friday where he narrowly missed a bronze in the 50m rifle prone. And a closer look at the range where Karmakar started honing his skills and where he still trains when in city could possibly explain the chasm between a medal and fourth place.
"What can't be hidden is the fact that the infrastructure is nowhere near even national standard," said international shooter Kuheli Gangulee, who oversees the operations at the only proper rifle club here and is also a friend and guide for Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang.
While international standard ranges have 50-60 lanes, this one has 12. Forget electronic targets or temperature-controlled interiors, here rickety stands
support a primitive-era pulley system to draw in the targets. There are 10m, 25m and 50m ranges all of them crying for better upkeep.
"The lanes are not covered. We don't even have enough funds for that," one of the shooters said.
"Talent is never a problem," said Gangulee. "We still have people turning up at our doors but I would have a problem if a hundred turn up for practice on Sunday morning. We simply don't have enough working lanes," she said. “Recently we were promised R 2 lakh for renovation. It wouldn't even cover the cost of refurbishing two lanes.”
Karmakar's result, in more than one way, is good news for this club. "We are still hoping for a miracle. Some day, all this might change for good," said Gangulee.