Ahead of Rio qualifier, Karni Ranges shut again for repairs

  • Navneet Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 17, 2015 18:27 IST
A file photo of fifty metres Range at Karni Singh Shooting Ranges in New Delhi. (HT Photo)

The Karni Singh Shooting Ranges on the outskirts of the Capital have been shut for renovation. The ranges were given a major facelift, costing Rs 20 crore, during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but have been shut again for the second time since September.

In order to conduct the Asian Air Weapon Shooting Championship in September, the ranges, under the jurisdiction of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), were closed to repair damaged electronic targets and other equipment.

Issues again cropped up during the recent Nationals, which was a test event for the Rio Olympic qualification tournament. To be held from January 25 to February 3, it will be the last continental event for shooters hoping to earn a berth for the Olympics.

SAI official Sanjeev Baranwal confirmed the ranges needed a facelift, adding that work had been allotted and they would be ready before the competition.

The condition of the ranges had started to deteriorate after the warranty expired in 2011. Besides the 10-metre range, electronic targets at the 25-metre and 50-metre ranges have been repaired in the past. To conduct the Nationals in 2013-2014, SAI had to dismantle its Bangalore ranges and transport equipment.

To check further damage, SAI has plans to award an annual maintenance contract (AMC). This aspect had not been looked at seriously earlier.

During the Nationals, in which shooters from across the country showcase their talent, faulty ranges caused problems. If scores were calculated manually during the finals at the 10m range, there were problems galore at the 50m ranges. Imran Hassan Khan, winner of gold in the men’s 10m air rifle, admitted that the malfunction upset his tempo during the final.

Sushil Ghaley, who set a national record in the preliminary round of the 50m prone rifle event, cried foul after the finals. “There was something wrong with my target but it was too late to complain,” he said. Eventually, he finished a disappointing seventh.

Narayan Singh Rana, a key official in the conduct of the Nationals, was hopeful the ranges would function well during the Rio qualifier. “It’s about the prestige of the nation,” he said.

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