Guiding them to hit the bullseye
There are around 150 students getting trained at Chennai Rifle Club
Until a year ago 17-year-old T. Vigneswaran did not know anything about rifles or shooting. After his father S. Tirupathi, a second-hand book vendor, enrolled him in the student membership programme at Chennai Rifle Club, the youngster has been winning medals.
“For the past one week I did not get any income and it is hard to meet the household expenses. However I want my son to shine and I am sure he will win gold for the country in the Olympics if he continues his practice,” says Mr. Tirupati.
Many youngsters like Vigneswaran, a plus-two student in a government school in Kodambakkam, benefited after the Chennai Rifle Club opened its door to students in March 2018. “As on date, there are around 150 students, aged between 10 and 17 years, and some are from financially weaker sections of the society too,” said D.V. Seetharama Rao, honorary secretary of the club.
“I have won medals in school and national-level competitions and it would not have been possible without the support of my coaches Rajat and Prem Sai who allowed me to use their gun. I want to purchase my own weapon, but my father cannot afford it,” says Vigneshwaran, a first-group student, who aims to join the Indian Air Force.
There are a few students who are willing to do all they can, to excel in the sport. Kavin Vendhan, a 10th standard student, travels from Villupuram to Chennai daily to practice for competitions. “For me shooting is a divine experience. I leave Villupuram at 11 a.m. and reach Chennai at 2 p.m. After two hours of practice, I return home,” says Kavin.
Gopinath Ganesan says he will do everything to help his daughter Saahitya pursue the sport. “She is performing well. I am very happy to invest in a weapon that will help her win medals. This sport helps in her overall development,” he says.
D. Kumar, convenor, student’s coaching scheme, Chennai Rifle Club, said that the club funds the training of students from the weaker strata of the society. “All the students are put through a structured training programme at the club,” he says.
Right shot: Students undergoing 10m rifile/pistol shooting training at the Chennai Rifle Club.