The introduction of Russian coaches and construction of new shooting ranges have added much-need firepower in the arsenal of the shooters from the Indian Army, who put an impressive display to emerge on top at the 51st National Championships held here.
Members of the Army contingent which collected 18 golds, 11 silver and eight bronze medals attribute their victory to the new Russian coaches Pavel Smirenov and Alexander Sidvorov.
The Army has roped in Pavel as a pistol coach, while Alexander is the rifle coach.
"Both these coaches are former Olympians and they bring a lot of match experience with them," says Subedar Pemba Tamang of the Gorkha Regiment who won gold in the Rapid-fire pistol event.
"Though these coaches have been with us for the last two months or so, they have contributed in improving our technique and temparament," Tamang told PTI.
"They have passed on some small, but vital information regarding our technique like standing posture or positioning of the shooting arm," said the shooter from Military Headquarters of War (MHOW).
"They also teach us how to mentally approach a closely-fought game," said Tamang, who also put up impressive performances in the team category at the Nationals.
Nayab Subedar Vijay Kumar from the Dongra regiment who won a silver at the Nationals says "These coaches also advise us about the dietary patterns that we must undertake before going for a crucial match."
"These coaches are on a one-year contract with the Indian Army. They had joined us about two months back," said Major R S Rai, the OIC (Officer-in-charge) of the pistol team.
One of the Russian coaches, Pavel Smirenow, said "I have earlier coached Syrian, Iranian and Soviet teams."
"Shooting is a sport where problems differ from shooter to shooter," said Pavel, adding he was working on certain individual technical problems faced by Indian shooters.
Pavel did not wish to elaborate on the problems and said he has advised the shooters regarding concentration and the need to add more calories in their diet.
"While the Russian coaches are doing their bit, the Army is also planning to hire a sports psychologist to train our shooters," said Lieutanant Colonel A N Tivary, the OIC of the Army's rifle team.
"The impressive showing of the Army in this Nationals has also to do with the improvement in the standards of shooting ranges of the Army," Colonel Tivary said.
"Such ranges built as per international standards have improved the quality of shooters," Tivary added.