Ritanjali Hastir, March, Shimla 2017
Born in the beauty hill state Himachal Pradesh, Vinay Gautam considers himself to be lucky as he got an opportunity to study in the famous Gurukul School Kurukshetra, Haryana where Acharya Devwrat was his Principal, now Governor Himachal Pradesh. Currently studying in 3rd year in Jawahar Lal Nehru Govt College of Fine Arts, Shimla, he considers he has a very long way to go with his passion for Shooting. He has represented Haryana in various nationals and shooting tournaments and as time came to complete his eleventh and twelfth, he returned to his roots and joined St. Thomas’ School, Shimla.
“I always wanted to represent my home state in this game but my experience was quite bitter. I realized that here students are only judged on marks and grades. When the inter school tournament was announced, I was not allowed to represent my school officially, but my passion encouraged me and I not only participated as an independent entry, but even won a medal. It was a turning point as after that incident the school started taking sports seriously and it paved way for other students who might not be bright but were great in sports. When I started playing from Himachal, the Himachal State Rifle Association helped me lot as Manish Giri and Ishwar Rohal, General Secretary H.P.S.R.A. I owe them big time for helping me keeping my passion alive”, Vinay shares while recalling his experience.
“I belong to a family with a police and army background so they do understand the importance of shooting as a sport, which often for people in Himachal are limited to killing monkeys or wild birds. Most schools do not have a shooting range to encourage this sport, hence they have to depend on the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex which again does not have a proper faculty”, he shares.
“This year it was for the first time that the inter college tournament was held and the Governor insisted that it should be introduced at the university level as well. I won a personal gold as well as a team medal”, he adds.
There is a dire need to make this game professional as what we see in the Sports Complex and the game arena outside is completely different. SCATT systems that help experienced shooters to better their skills, and for beginners it is a chance to shorten the time needed to learn shooting skills by a factor of two or three. Practicing in an average-size room you can use any type of weapon and simulate shooting at distances up to 50 meters, which is usually missing. TV screens giving detailed view and audience watching while sitting behind them is missing, observed Vinay.
Now it’s really good thing that army trained instructors are available to guide students. Shimla has only one trained army rifle coach, now we have diploma courses for coaching offered by NRAI (National Rifle Association of India) feels Vinay. He adds, “Interested persons should not give up easily as this is a game where no one can cheat, such as unlike in other games the judges can mess with your score. Here no one can challenge you if you fulfill the target set by ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation), the governing body of the Olympic Shooting events in Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun disciplines, and of several non-Olympic Shooting sport events. Stay focused and there is no one to bring you down.”
“You don’t need to worry as this game can easily find you a place in any four Forces and if you wish to become an Olympian shooter or an instructor then we all have the option of diploma course at hand too”, he adds.
Vinay’s achievements include – a gold medal in the Senior State Competition continuously for past three years, during the inter college competition his team won a gold medal and on individual basis too he has won a gold and a trophy for his college. He has even played at senior nationals during 2013, 2014 and 2015. He has qualified for the Indian team trails and got an opportunity to represent India. He even won a silver medal in the All India Inter School competition. He is also now qualified to be a coach and help other players shape their future in this shooting game.