THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Games Shooting Range at Vattiyoorkavu might have missed a national competition this month due to the outbreak of the Nipah virus in the state, but a new academy for budding shooters will soon bring cheer to the shooters' fraternity here, said sources. The Sports Department has been shopping for rifles and pistols, both foreign and Indian to start the academy. This was expected to inject life into the range that has been sparsely used since 2015.
“We hope to start the academy by July. Budding shooters won’t be directly allowed to use the existing range but will be trained using newly procured targets and arms,” a senior official said. The new academy here had gone into cold storage following legal tussles between various entities over the tender processes held by the sports department.
Ace shooter Gagan Narang-owned Guns of Glory was selected to start an academy. However, this plan was shelved and the range will be run by the sports department. There were fears that the lack of adequate maintenance would damage the delicate Swiss-made devices and sensors in the range.
“Luckily, the devices are fine as they were well-maintained. We have been running three to four national championships to keep the range working,” said ace shooting coach Sunny Thomas. The maintenance of the range and academy can incur an expenditure of at least Rs 4.5 lakh every month which the Sports Department will have to underwrite. The electricity bills of the range were massive and it now has a dedicated sub-station....