At any time during a paintball
game, there are at least five
points of thrilling action," says
paintballer Kiran Soans (33). He's
vehemently trying to debunk the
notion that the sport is only a teambuilding
indulgence. "That's one of its
advantages, but that doesn't mean it's
all the sport has!" he says.
For other paintballers just as exasperated
with this popular belief, Soans,
the head of Bangalore-based National
Paintball League, is organising an
international open paintball tournament
in India next February. The
championship is touted as the first
worldwide paintball competition to
be held in India, and will see participants
" T h i s , "
the sport online in
2002, and asked his
brother from the US
to send him a gun.
Until 2003 he was a
and in 2006 he played
at the first corporate
he's a member of NPL All Stars India
and went to Taiwan and Kuala
Lumpur last year for tournaments.
In India, NPL organises a competition
every year, in which teams from
Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore
participate. This year, before the
World Cup Asia in October, Soans
plans to expand to Mumbai, Pune and
Delhi, and rope in players for the international
Soans uses the Internet and radio
to spread word about the NPL tournaments.
Last year, 12 teams each
from Chennai and Hyderabad, and 14
from Bangalore had signed up. "We
saw that it wasn't at all a recreational
sport. These guys were really serious,"
says Kaviraj Thapa (29), ex-captain
of the NPL All Stars Bangalore.
Ready to compete
The physical rigours involved, he says,
are no less than those in any other
outdoor sport. Each member is handed
a 45-minute Do-It-Yourself workout
video, done without equipment,
and instructed to eat healthy and
improve their stamina. "We've been
warming up with football, doing
stretches and running, and meeting
to discuss strategies and equipment."
Teams are split into divisions
according to level of experience, and
promoted on the basis of performance.
In league matches, teams play
within their division and the type of
gun also varies. These intricacies that
not many people know about, are what
make paintball a good spectator sport.
"Start off in your neighbourhood
arena, and then move on to something
bigger when you've bought your own
equipment," says Soans.
Brigadier Sushil Bhasin (retired),
owner of Mumbai-based Empower
Adventure Activities, runs an outdoor
paintball arena in Kolad. He believes
that one can pick up the sport easily.
"The more innovative you are with
the arena the better the sport gets. If
people like it that way, they'll surely
enter themselves in tournaments."