Gun for Glory shooting extravaganza begins in Pune
Picture this: dhol tasha groups whipping up a frenzy, Bollywood songs blaring from sound systems and crowds chanting names of players.
One would be forgiven for thinking they are enjoying a Twenty-20 clash in some popular cricket stadium in the state. What we are talking about here is a scene straight out of a shooting venue!
One generally associates shooting with pin-drop silence, but this perception changes dramatically on the day Gun for Glory holds the Challengers’ Cup - a one-day event.
The shooting championships organised by Gun for Glory begins at the Balewadi Sports Complex today, but the Challengers’ Cup, where the top eight shooters in the men’s and women’s categories challenge each other is scheduled for September 29.
“I got the idea of this event when I was playing in Germany. They have a similar event there and the atmosphere is electric. The crowds really enjoy it,” Gagan Narang, London Olympics bronze medallist and founder of Gun for Glory Academy, told MiD-DAY.
“It’s a challenge for shooters to concentrate in such an atmosphere, something which they are not used to,” he added. Current 10m air rifle world record holder Sidi Peter will be a special guest entry in this year’s tournament, Narang said.
The tournament, sponsored by Sanjay Kakade Group, gains prominence since it’s being held on behalf of National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) for the third straight year, and the performances would count towards national championships qualification.
The championship will be conducted in more than 60 categories in 10m air rifle, 10m air pistol and shotgun segments.
Gold loses its sheen this time
In the previous two years, organisers had given away real gold medals to winners in key categories like the 10m air rifle, 10m air pistol and shotgun. That practice will be discontinued this time. “The finance minister has requested people not to buy gold to help the economy. Hence, we have decided to do away with the practice of giving real gold medals, and instead, would give cash prizes worth the same amount of gold to the winners,” Pawan Singh, director of the academy, said.