With the Commonwealth Games over and India grabbing the second spot in the event and a major chunk of medals coming from shooting, many had a fair idea about the growth of shooting as a sport in the country.
But the scene at the Rattan Convent School on Wednesday in Seekri village around 50 kilometers from the Capital would have shocked most on a positive note, as more than 1,000 youngsters from 19 states came to participate in 14th All India Kumar Surendra Singh Shooting Championship.
The competition, an inter-school one, is being organised by National Rifle Association of India. The number of entries received for the competition even surprised the organisers, and one of the reasons they were busy till Wednesday evening was the huge response. “This is a record entry for us, we didn’t expect it to cross the 1000-mark but it is good for the sport that so many people are taking interest,” said Deep Bhatia, a senior NRAI official.
According to the organisers, the school is the only one in NCR, which has easily the biggest shooting range. “This is the only school which has a shooting range with 25 target points,” said Bhatia.
The competition was declared open on Wednesday by former Governor of Madhya Pradesh Balram Jakhar. “This is a good opportunity for youngsters to display their talent and it is places like these where the future is groomed and we find our heroes who will represent the country,” said Jakhar.
The competition will, however, see children only participating in the 10m air pistol and rifle events as, according to the organizers, fire arms are not permitted in school competitions. “We are only having air pistol and rifle events here as the rule only permits the use of air weapons and not the other ones,” added Bhatia.
As for the participants, it is a steppingstone to the big stage and a platform to follow the stalwarts of the sport. “I want to win here and want to represent the country,” Sudeep from Uttaranchal.