The Lake Line shooting ranges in Yapral have come alive with the bangs of rifle shots, thanks to the initiative of Brig. Cyrus A. Pithawala, General Officer Commanding, Andhra Sub-Area.

Well, the otherwise quiet venue was bristling with activity when the National (300 m big bore) Shooting Championship got off on Wednesday morning. Interestingly, the dignitaries who graced the inaugural including T. P. Das, principal Secretary, Home, Government of AP, K.S. Suresh Reddy, former Speaker of AP Legislative Assembly and chief patron of Rifle Association of Andhra Pradesh (RAAP), took a shot at the target in the ranges. The symbolic gesture, which clearly delighted the shooting fraternity also.

More importantly, the big guns who administer shooting in the State promised to give a new direction to the discipline in the days to come. “It is time we not only look up at the wonderful achievements of our shooters. We have the great Gagan Narang here who won the 2012 London Olympics medal. But it will be better if we look down – taking the sport to the unexplored regions other than the big cities,” remarked Suresh Reddy.

And, there was the welcome revelation from T. P. Das, Principal Secretary, Home, Government of Andhra Pradesh, that some changes are being proposed to make the rules shooter-friendly to give the desired fillip in terms of easier procurement of weapons and equipment.

Gautam Sawang, IPS, who is also a patron of RAAP, felt the onus is on the shooters to show their prowess given the improved facilities and the better support they are getting from the government.

“Overall, the sport has witnessed a big change for the good in the State since 2002 when change of guard took place in the State Association,” felt RAAP vice-president Gusti Noria.

For his part, ace-shooter Gagan will also be taking part in the event – his first in the State after the medal-winning performance in London Games last year.

RAAP president Amit Sanghi promised to host as many events as possible to encourage local talent. “We take pride that about 60 shooters from AP are competing in the nationals,” he added.

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