Every effort was being made by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to ensure an Indian participation in the rigorous Queen's prize competition in the ongoing Commonwealth Shooting full bore championship, at the CRPF range, Kadarpur.
After the 300-metre competition on the first two days, when Sushil Ghalay tried hard to pin a medal, there was a big cloud of doubt about India being in a position to field marksmen to shoot in an event that features targets ranging up to 1000 yards.
In the event, India has decided to field Major Amit Khanna and Major Praveen Dahiya for the Queen's prize pairs event, and arrangements have been made to get them the necessary rifles to shoot the distant targets. The two had competed in the 300-metre event as well, and have a fair understanding of the conditions.
It may be noted that the Indian marksmen have not competed in the queen's prize event, and the equipment ordered by the government have not reached yet.
In an attempt to salvage the situation and also to make the maximum of conducting such an international event in the run up to the Commonwealth Games, the organisers did not spare anything to ensure that the Indian marksmen made meaningful first steps in this long-distance shooting event.
With two days having been assigned for training on Sunday and Monday, the organisers thoughtfully reshuffled the programme in consultation with the shooters to avoid the energy sapping conditions upsetting their physical condition and mental composure over the next week.
The pairs, badge and individual competitions of the Queen's prize event have been broken down on the basis of distances, and thus the competition would feature 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1000 in that order over five days.
Originally, competition was scheduled to be held over 300, 500 and 600 yards on one day and the other two distances on the next day. The cycle was scheduled to be repeated for the individual event separately, for different stages.
The start time has also been advanced to 8 a.m. so that competition can conclude by around 11.30 a.m. every day, saving the shooters from the oppressive heat.
The Indian shooters capitalised on the available time and also have gained invaluable wealth of knowledge from the fellow competitors about the nuances of shooting such an event, which has been simplified to, keeping in mind the elevation of the targets, the wind factor apart from the mirage that may make the target look hazy.
The host has also been quite considerate to the shooters assembled from 11 countries, and helped them make a tour of the Capital in the evening, with adequate security, apart from addressing the minor problems with appreciable urgency.
Of course, the morning session was used for training. The 20 targets were kept over three distances — eight at 300 yards, and six each at 500 and 600 yards, as about 30 shooters went through the rigours of training themselves step by step from one target to the other.
On Monday, the training will be done on targets at 900 and 1000 yards, before everyone gets ready to resume competition from Tuesday.
Keywords: National Rifle Association of India