Boparai Shooting Range gives deserted look


Ferozepur, September 23, 2012:  The Boparai Rifle Range situated on the outskirts of village Khane Ke Ahl, inaugurated 38 years back, by Padam Bhushan S.S.Bedi, the then Commissioner of Jalandhar Division on January 28, 1974, lying deserted.

The land for this range was arranged by local industrialist Vinod Murghai who was also the Sarpanch of village Khane Ke Ahl.

The range lacks facilities and equipment, needed to attract the younger generation, to follow the shooting icons produced by this shooting range and national and international repute like Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, MLA from Guruharsahai constituency, Ronjan Sodhi,  Birendeep, Malwinder Sodhi, Gurbir Sandhu and Punitpal Singh.

During the recent concluded London Olympics 2012, the Indian Shooters  qualified for London Olympics 2012 namely Abhinav Bindra who won individual Gold Medal in Beijing Olympics Games 2008, for Men’s Air Rifle Event, Ronjan Singh Sodhi as India Trap Shooter, who had won two Silver Medal in Commonwealth Games in 2010, Gangan Narang, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Vijay Kumar, Sanjeet Rajput, Joydeep Karmakar.  Of females,  Annu Raj Singh in Air Pistol Event, Shagun Choudhary in Trap Shooting, Rahi Sarnaobat and Heena Sidhu as Sharp Shooters. There were huge expectations from the Indian shooters when they left for the Olympic Games but perhaps the hype was a trifle misplaced as the biggest ever shooting contingent returned with just silver and a bronze.

However, Vijay Kumar's silver medal in the men's 25m rapid fire pistol event and Gagan Narang's bronze in the men's 10m air rifle event were the saving grace for the Indian contingent, which prepared well for the Olympics with many of them training abroad.

Apart from these two medal winning efforts, Joydeep Karmakar came up with a creditable performance in the 50m rifle prone, missing out on a bronze by a whisker to take the fourth position. It was a heart-warming performance by Karmakar in his very first Olympics and it became all the more creditable since many of his other fancied teammates flopped.

When the team left the Indian shores, Beijing Games gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, Narang and Ronjan Sodhi were touted as serious medal contenders and the media was talking about an unprecedented hall of medals from the shooting ranges at the Royal Artillery Barracks. While Narang managed a bronze in one of his three events, Bindra and Sodhi turned in disappointing performances, failing to even clear the qualification rounds in their respective categories.

All in all, it again proved that Indian shooters, despite having improved vastly over the years, lacked the confidence and the composure to do well in the biggest sporting show on earth.

Presently, only one attendant Anait is living with his family in the complex for the last more than 25 years at a meager salary of Rs.4,000 per month. While talking to him, he said, there used to be regular visitor to this shooting range for practice but now hardly anyone comes. All the persons who come here are from well-off families and they should show the sportsmanship to maintain it by deputing a gardner for proper landscaping.

District Sports Officer, Sunil Sharma who himself is a coach of shooter said, “The shooting range has three imported machines for double trap and skeet while 12 more machines were needed for trap facility, for which trenches have been laid. But there were no funds to buy the equipment”.

Sunday, September 23, 2012