Non-availability of a shooting academy and an advanced shooting range have failed to dampen the spirit of budding shooters, who are enthusiastic to showcase their talent at the 14th Punjab State Inter School Shooting Championship kicked off at GN College at Narangwal near here on Friday.
However, owing to lack of basic shooting amenities - infrastructure, shooting ranges and coaches - the parents of the potential shooters are forced to spend money from their own for the training of their children.
Meanwhile, a shooting range at GN College came as a relief to many shooters, as more than 35 players from the city practise at the college every day. Besides this, a small shooting range was setup at SCD Government College; though it needs to be upgraded.
A 14-year-old city-based shooter, Udaypartap Singh Grewal, said: “In the absence of a proper shooting range, I travel around 20km every day for practise at the GN College's shooting range. I have participated in national-level games, though playing Olympics is my dream.”
Ajay Gulati, the father of a shooting player, who is participating in the championship at Narangwal, said: “We are spending money from our own pockets, as there are virtually no facilities are available to the budding players. The minimum cost of a rifle is Rs 1.5 lakh while a shooting dress costs around Rs 25,000.
“The government should take initiative in this direction by opening shooting academies in every district of Punjab with competent coaches on-board. Moreover, the working of academies and associations should be transparent.”
President of the Ludhiana District Riffle Association Lieutenant Colonel Jagdish Singh Brar(retd) said: “The craze for shooting is high among city children, but it lacks basic infrastructure like shooting academy and shooting range. There are many students in city schools and colleges, who have potential to become world-level players.
“The newly-built shooting range at GN College has provided a platform to shooting aspirants to sharpen tune their skills, but the need of an academy in the city does not die out.”
Meanwhile, assuring the shooters of a better infrastructure, Punjab PWD minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon said the Punjab Riffle Shooting Association would setup shooting ranges in Bathinda, SAS Nagar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and other cities.
He further said a shooting academy and a shooting range would be setup at Sunet in Ludhiana soon, the land for which had been provided by the Punjab government.