Chennai: Did you know? Olympian shooter, Gagan Narang’s first encounter with a gun was here in Chennai at our very own Marina Beach shooting balloons. In order to develop the sport that brought him world fame here in Tamilnadu, Narang has started his Gun for Glory Shooting academy at The Centre for Sports Science (CSS) of Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute.

State Minister for youth affairs and sports, Balakrishna Reddy on Thursday inaugurated the academy and felicitated the academy trained shooter, Elavenil Valarivan (18), who shot a mammoth 631.4 in 10m air rifle qualification to create a new Junior World record and also surpassed the senior women’s record to clinch her maiden ISSF Junior World Cup gold in Sydney recently.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said, “The academy will be a big boost for shooters from the state and nearby areas to
aim for Olympic level achievements. Tamilnadu government is happy to associate itself with the academy to encourage more and more sports persons to achieve national and international levels in all fields.”

Shooting not an expensive sport anymore
Administrator of Gagan Narang’s Sports Promotion Foundation Yusuf Panvelwala on the occasion stressed that shooting is not an expensive sport anymore as it used to be for beginners. Explaining this he said, “Earlier, for someone to get into competitive shooting, the purchase of guns and ammunition alone used to cost upwards of Rs 1.5 lakh. Today, we are providing all the equipment along with world class training facilities and coaches for beginners and the entire cost for that for one year will be less than the cost to purchase a gun.”

Speaking on the collaboration between Ramachandra’s CSS and Narang’s GFG academy, he said, “This joint academy, will scout for young shooting talents in Chennai and adjoining areas, and develop them. It also aims to roll out the opportunity for the sporting enthusiasts who can take up shooting as a recreational sport too. A similar model of popularizing the sport was rolled out in Gujarat by GFT in association with the Government in 2012 and this initiative resulted in attracted talents from the State.”

Culmination of science and sports
Director of CSS,  Dr S Arumugam said, “With cutting edge Sports Science backbone that CSS provides, we can identify weakness and prevent injuries before they even happen. Shooters are required to stand in the same posture and concentrate for long hours on a targets. With sport science,we can optimise their posture and design customised equipments like shoes with special insole to give them more comfort, stability and precision.”

“Our facility equipped with state of the art 3D Biomechanics lab, exercise physiology labs, High Performance Centre, Indoor Multipurpose Sports Arena and a world class Fitness Centre. CSS has both national and international expertise in these areas in partnership with University of Cape Town, South Africa. Recently, state of the art indoor 10m, 25m and 50m shooting ranges have been set up within this facility. The vision is to produce Olympic Medals for India in 2024 with the synergistic combination of GFG’s coaching expertise and sports science support from CSS.”

Elavenil guns for Olympic gold (Box)
The CSS-GFG shooting academy at Sri Ramachandra Medical College campus started off with a 10-day camp on Wednesday. Elavenil Valarivan, a young talent hailing from Cuddalore is one of its star attractions.  Speaking to News Today , she said, “Being mentored by an Olympian (Gagan Narang), is a big advantage as he has gone through the same challenges we face. He makes sure that we are are comfortable and helps us concentrate on improving our performance.”

Elavenil says that Gagan who is still an active shooter, trains with them and gives them a lot of inputs. He said, “For example,  his specific input on how my approach towards the target should be has been beneficial for me. Working together with my coach, Neha Chavan at the academy, they have certainly taken my game to a new level,”

The CSS-GFG academy plans to conduct regular camps in Chennai. The academy will have one residential coach stationed for all basic level courses and specialist coaches like Neha will be travelling here occasionally to conduct camps for elite level shooters. The academy will be reaching out to schools, invite students to the academy and conduct tests using scientific methods to tap potential shooters.