Shooting enthusiasts can seek professional training at Newtown Business Club. The club has entered into an arrangement with the Joydeep Karmakar Shooting Academy (JKSA), run by Olympian Joydeep Karmakar.
MoU has been signed between the two entities, according to which JKSA will provide coach and expertise to those who want to hone their shooting skills. The club, run by Hidco, has a 10m shooting range which opened on August 15, 2018.
“Though the facility was there for members, it did not take off once the initial enthusiasm died down. So we thought of seeking professional help to run the range,” said an official.
Karmakar said the range could be used by anyone. “I insisted to the authorities that it should not be restricted to club members. Anyone from any part of the city should be able to pay a charge and practise. That way the available talent pool would be much larger,” he said.
The Olympian, whose academy also runs a range at The Newtown School, hopes to use the club range as a feeder centre. “The fees here are affordable. If we find a promising shooter we can take him or her elsewhere for more intense practice,” he said.
According to the club authorities, the monthly fee for shooting is Rs 1,770 and there is a one-time admission fee of Rs 2,000. “We are offering a 50 per cent discount on the admission fee till the Pujas,” said a club official. While the airguns are provided by the club for practice, shooters will have to buy the pellets, at Rs 25 for a set of five.
That works out to be cheaper than the membership fee for the club which is Rs 2.91 lakh for the first three years and subsequently Rs 55,000 a year.
Coaches would be available on Saturday from 5pm to 9pm and on Sunday 10am to 6pm.
Karmakar recently attended an interaction at the club where he stressed on the importance of shooting as a sport and the benefits it offers to pursuers.
The Olympian said he had taken an interest in the sport from the age of 10. “Kids tend to have a knack for shooting games. I was no different. There used to be a century-old firearms shop at BBD Bagh. The seller was an acquaintance of my father. He advised Baba to admit me to a shooting club,” Karmakar said, when asked why he had taken up shooting as a sport.
Besides talking about his academy, Karmakar extensively drove home the benefits of shooting as a sport to mental health. He said: “I know many youngsters who have majorly benefitted by taking up shooting. The sport is not much about physical health, but it helps you mentally. Shooting is immensely beneficial for individuals with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”
Upcoming young shooters like Rehan Haque, Kobita Ganguli and Chandrani Roy were present at the session. Rehan has previously won silver and gold medals at the state and U-17 regional levels respectively. Rehan’s father mentioned that Rehan religiously played shooting games on the computer. It was he himself who researched and found out about a shooting institute at The Newtown School and convinced his father to get him admitted. “He developed his passion from video games and now we are eagerly waiting for him to play the Nationals next year in Bangalore,” the proud father mentioned.
Karmakar warned in good humour that the joy of shooting as a sport was “perhaps a bit too infectious”. His son Adriyan would be representing India at the Asian Championship in Korea. His wife Radhika too has taken up shooting and would soon be playing the Nationals.
National medallist Deep Sengupta, a member of the Newtown Business Club, also addressed the gathering.
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