Guid­ing them to hit the bulls­eye

There are around 150 stu­dents getting trained at Chen­nai Ri­fle Club

The Hindu - - CHENNAI - Vivek Narayanan

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.

B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM ■

Right shot: Stu­dents un­der­go­ing 10m ri­file/pis­tol shoot­ing train­ing at the Chen­nai Ri­fle Club.

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