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Better range to promote shooters

Silver girl Shreyasi Singh’s feat in the Commonwealth Games has come as a silver lining for budding shooting stars in the state.

Elated over the 22-year-old’s silver-winning feat in Glasgow, the government has decided to promote the sport in the state big time. First, it would uplift the short-range shooting hub in Nalanda. The bigger boost would be a full-fledged state-of-the-art range, where budding shooters would be able to practice to sharpen their skills.

Shreyasi — the catalyst of the twin developments — would be felicitated in the state for bagging silver on Sunday in the double trap event of the Commonwealth Games at Barry Buddon Shooting Centre. Art, culture and youth affairs minister Vinay Bihari told The Telegraph: “We learnt about Shreyasi’s achievement this (Monday) morning. The state government will honour her for the laurel she has brought to the country and Bihar. I shall be talking to my department officials and direct them to plan something impressive in honour of Shreyasi. There will be a grand ceremony but we shall have to plan and decide on its nature. I shall be speaking to the chief minister about our plan. We shall do everything possible to honour her in the right way.”

A source in the department said there were serious thoughts of announcing a cash award for Shreyasi, who usually practises in Italy.

Vinay said the state government had decided to improve the shooting training facility in Bihar after the feat of Shreyasi, whose family owns the Gidhaur estate in Jamui district. “We shall improve the facilities at the shooting training centre in Nalanda district. Rs 35 lakh has been allotted to it under the scheme ‘Ekalavya’ for hiring coaches, buying equipment and improving the living conditions,” the minister said.

He said the district magistrate (DM) of Nalanda had been informed about the plan. “The department realises that there should be more such hubs,” Vinay added.

Nalanda DM Kartikey Budhdhabhati said: “The facility is meant for 10m air rifle and 10m pistol training. Around 17 people below 17 years sharpen their skills there under one coach. It is a G+1 building and has residential facility. But trainees have to buy their food. If the facility is developed, more people interested in the sport can join in. The administration is working towards developing the facility,” the DM said.

Meera Kumari, a budding shooter, told The Telegraph: “The facility for the 10m rifle shooting at Nalanda Shooting Range should be extended to 25m and 50m so that we can compete better in the national and the international events.”

Meera, who clinched the fifth position in 50m rifle shooting in the National Games 2011 in Ranchi, said: “The Bihar shooters face problems when they compete in 50m or 25m because they practise in 10m range.” She also sought better mode of communication to the Nalanda Shooting Range at Harnaut.

An official of the art, culture and youth affairs department said plans were afoot to develop a full-fledged training facility for trap shooting events in the state. “There is no such facility in the state. The department has started talks aimed at developing a training facility for trap shooting. The details are being discussed and things will be clearer in some time,” the official told The Telegraph.