Officials at SDAT told The Hindu that an action plan for reviving the range had already been prepared.

It was among the finest facilities, with standards on a par with the world when it was created. Now, nearly 20 years later, the shooting range of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) at Veerapuram, near Avadi, is not even a pale shadow of what it once was.

Inaugurated during the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games hosted by Chennai in 1995, the shooting range, which has the potential to create champions, is disappointing, according to sports enthusiasts in the city.

There are 72 lanes (from where shooters fire at their targets) for the 50-metre rifle shooting. The targets on these lanes have become obsolete and have to be replaced with the latest. Even the remaining few are not being taken care of properly. The imported frames on which the target sheets are placed cost a fortune and are now rusting.

On the first floor, there are two indoor ranges for the 10-metre free air pistol and 10-metre electronic shooting. A crack on the floor here is so wide that the ground floor below is visible. The tiles are broken and electrical fittings, including fans and lights, are absent. Further, the air-conditioners in the indoor electronic range do not function and power supply is erratic, and the wiring faulty.

Shooting enthusiasts, who have trained at Pune and New Delhi, said the Veerapuram shooting range had the potential to be among the best ranges in south Asia, but required new facilities and upgrading of the existing ones.

Improving connectivity to the range, encouraging young talented athletes, and procuring weapons and ammunition could help bring a turn-around, they suggested, recommending additional manpower for better maintenance.

“The government spent Rs. 1.6 crore on creating this range, along with other stadiums built in record time when Chennai hosted the SAF Games. The government should pay more attention,” said D.S. Sivasamy, who had brought his grandson to a recently concluded special summer camp for shooting enthusiasts, held at the range.

Officials at SDAT told The Hindu that an action plan for reviving the range had already been prepared.

An inspection of the range had been conducted by a team of senior SDAT officials recently, and civil works tp spruce up the range are expected to be taken up soon, they added.

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