Maharashtra does not really have a tradition of producing world-class trap shooters. “At the last national championships, the state had around 250 participants in rifle and pistol shooting, but not even one in the shotgun events,” says Pawan Singh, assistant coach of the Indian shooting team and director, Gun for Glory shooting academy.
This anomaly is due to the fact that Maharashtra does not really have too many shotgun ranges to train in. “It is not that we don’t have talent, but the facilities aren’t there,” Singh says. “I have been getting a lot of requests from people in Pune, Kolhapur and other towns who tell me they have guns but don’t know where to train. If you want to pursue shotgun shooting seriously, you had to move to Hyderabad or Delhi.”
That situation could change soon, with Gun for Glory all set to revive the shotgun range at the Balewadi Sports Complex, which has been lying idle after hosting the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008 and a couple of camps after that. “In around a month’s time, we should have a shotgun academy in place at Gun For Glory,” he says.
“A few shooters from Mumbai and Pune have already signed up for the shotgun course. We are going to start with a 12-day camp with the national team’s shotgun coach M Padmanabhan. And during the Gun for Glory championships in September, we will hold shotgun events as well.”
Of the 11 Indian shooters who have qualified for the London Olympics, four train at Gun for Glory. Singh says that the academy is planning a new scientific research wing to enhance their shooters’ performance further.
“We are going to increase the use of technology to help shooters,” says Singh. “We have talented shooters at the academy , including juniors such as Shriyanka Sadangi and Tejaswini Muley who have scores of 398 and 399 at international events. But we want them to get those scores consistently, and get even better, and score 400, and compete with the best in the world.”
The research wing will introduce shooters to biomechanical tests,