The pathway to the hall was decked with colourful roses. And, that livened up things for those who joined in the party at the SSVM World School in Singanallur. The school had reasons to celebrate as it etched its name in the ‘list of firsts' to have an indoor air rifle shooting range of its own.
Even as schools in and around the city focussed on other disciplines, the SSVM educational institutions chose to tread an uncharted territory. What is the reason? To give a fair share for the sport that brought India its first ever individual gold medal in the history of the Olympics.
SSVM wants its children to play a key part for the country in future international events. “We want every child from class six to make the best use of this facility. We will even make it compulsory,” said Manimekalai Mohan, its Managing Trustee.
It must have been a pretty expensive affair for SSVM. “It really is, but at the end we want our children to be an Abhinav Bindra or an Anjali Bhagwat,” she added.
She said that City Police Commissioner C. Sylendra Babu had played an important role in setting up this exclusive facility. “He is a gold medallist himself in the western range in shooting. And, he was a big inspiration behind this venture.”
So, it was quite natural that Mr. Babu was called to inaugurate the range. And, he readily obliged.
“Only in the United States and other European countries you may find such indoor shooting ranges in schools. It is an electrically operated 10m air-rifle range. I don't remember any school in India owning such a facility. So you have a wonderful opportunity to make your names known,” said the Commissioner.
“Shooting is an important discipline as it has 13 medals at stake in the Olympics. As young Indians you have the responsibility to go forward and win medals for the country.”
Mr. Babu pointed out that Coimbatore, despite being a small city, had done well in shooting. “Omkar Singh and Harpreet Singh from Navy who clinched gold medals at the Commonwealth Games are from this city. So you are all very lucky to be part of this special city.”
The Commissioner had words of appreciation for Linga Raj of Dindigul who had been assisting him in setting up ranges across various schools in the State. “He is going to help you in shaping your career.”