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No rifles for shooting event a week away

India's top shooters for the Commonwealth Championships (full-bore) may well have to practice and compete with borrowed guns.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2010 23:53 IST
Saurabh Duggal

India's top shooters for the Commonwealth Championships (full-bore) may well have to practice and compete with borrowed guns. The Championships, to be held at the newly constructed Rs 25 crore range at Kadarpur in Gurgaon from April 15, is a test event for the Commonwealth Games.

The eight shooters selected in the core pool for the full-bore event (1000 yards) are in a tough spot. Reason: There are no full-bore rifles in the country with which they can practice or compete. With the target at 1000 yards, their rifles just don't have the range.

At the Commonwealth Championships, there are two events, each carrying two medals --- one with the target at 300 yards and the other at 1000 yards.

The other reason the shooters are up in arms is that at the Commonwealth Games, there is only one event, with two medals at stake (individual and team). The shooter must hit targets at 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1000 yards.

Simply put, with the rifles that the Indians currently have, they won't be able to shoot at targets beyond the first distance (300 yards).

A few days ago, the government finally placed an order for four full bore rifles. But since they are purpose made, it will take at least a month for them to arrive.

"Earlier, the NRAI had asked for 12 rifles, which was turned down by the government. Then, six were asked for, finally the government agreed for four rifles," said a source.

There is further bad news. The Australian coach appointed for the team is yet to arrive while the camp for the shooters is slated to begin on April 10, giving them only four days to practice. Off the record, the government has said the rifles would arrive soon, but they are meant for training, and not for competition.

The solution in sight is that the Indian shooters will have to practice and compete by borrowing rifles from other the teams. For a host nation, this must surely be a new low.