Three months ago, the Vattiyoorkavu Shooting Range resembled an abandoned warehouse with overgrown grass and weeds. The range was in disuse for the last two years after serving as a Covid first-line treatment centre when the pandemic was at its peak in Kerala.
Now it is a beehive of activity with the tranquillity of the serene surroundings broken by the staccato sound of gun shots. Almost all leading shooters in the country have descended here to participate in the 65th National Shooting championships which will begin on Monday.
The shooters are coming back after a rich haul of medals in the recent ISSF World championships held in Cairo and Osijek, Croatia, respectively. Olympians Manu Bhaker and Deepak Kumar will be seen in action in the women’s 50m 3P and 10m Air rifle events respectively on the first day of the championships.
Elizabeth Susan Koshy after a three-year hiatus from the sport is making a comeback in her favourite 50m 3P event. She has been training hard at Gagan Narang’s Academy in Hyderabad. However, Anjum Moudgil, who is among the world’s best in 50m 3P event, and Tejaswini Sawant are expected to fight it out for the top positions in the event.
After a less than impressive performance in the Tokyo Olympics, the Asian Games is the next big stop for the Indian shooters and in that context, the national championship is an important stop-over for them.