New Delhi: Sports Authority of India (SAI) has released Rs 4.30 crore for upgradation of the rifle and shotgun facility at the Karni Singh Shooting Range, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh said here today. “SAI has released Rs 3.8 crore for upgradation of 10m, 25m and 50m range, and SWISCO will oversee the work. An additional Rs 50 lakh has been released for renovation work of the shotgun facility at the Karni Singh Shooting Ranges,” Raninder said while unveiling the 8th Asian Airgun championship logo.
The championship, scheduled to take place from September 25 to October 1, will be held at the Karni Singh Shooting Range at Tughlakabad. The tournament will see participation of 30 nations. According to Raninder, it could be the last possible non quota competition before the Asian Shooting championship in November. Meanwhile, Raninder is optimistic about India sending a big shooting contingent to next year’s Rio Olympics. The country has so far won five quota places through Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Jitu Rai, Apurvi Chandela and Gurpreet Singh.
“You can put me on record we will have a full cricket team plus one reserve going to Rio,” he said. There are three Olympic quota events left in the run-up to the Rio Games and Raninder felt India’s best chance will be at the Asian Shooting Championships. “The Asian Shooting Championships in Novemner will be a major contributor for us as some of the top shooters have already earned quotas. That’s where we will look to maximise our opportunities. I am very confident that we can have 12 shooters for Rio.” Talking about the number of medals India can hope to win, he said, “A little luck is required on that particular day. If lady luck smiles, we can come back with four-plus medals.” Asked about the junior shooters who came back with 14 medals from the shooting championships in Suhl, Germany. Raninder said, “51 per cent of our funds were allocated for our junior shooters this year. We have a parallel programme for our junior shooters.”
During the tournament in the capital, fans will get to witness top quality international shooting after a period of five years, when stars like Bindra, Narang and Rai lock horns with the likes of reigning Olympic and World Champions Jin Jongoh (Korea), Zhu Qinan (China) and Yang Haoran (China). There are 12 men and women events in the offing over four days of competition in the senior, youth and junior categories. Airgun competitions are restricted to the Air Rifle and Air Pistol segments.
Expressing his happiness, Raninder said, “Shooting has been India’s joint most successful Olympic sport after hockey. We are confident we will be able to bring greater laurels for the country, come the 2016 Rio Olympics. This (Asian) championship will serve as part of the ongoing preparations towards that goal. “I want to thank the Sports Ministry of the Government of India, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), and above all our world class shooters for their relentless support and commitment to the sport, which has been key in helping us bring this high-quality competition to India.” The senior India shooting squad has already bagged five Rio Olympic quota places, out of a maximum 30 that each nation can win. All five Rio Olympic quota winners were present on the occasion. The next assignment for the squad begins on August 6 in Gabala, Azerbaijan where the ISSF World Cup for Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun will see 35 more quota places for Rio 2016.