Punjab Revenue & Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia today underlined the need for creating quality infrastructure in the form of shooting ranges along with latest equipments including weapons and ammunition to promote shooting in a big way as in the recent past this sport has emerged as best bet for medals in Olympic and other international championships.Speaking at closing ceremony of 15th Punjab State Inter-school Shooting Championship organized by Amritsar Rifle Club, Punjab here today,
Majithia, who is also the President of Punjab Rifle Shooting association, (PRSA) said that PRSA was committed to promote shooting in a big way to produce ace marksman to excel in international arena thereby bring laurels to the country and state. He said that the State government has released Rs. 5.20 crore for setting up of three world class shooting ranges at Amritsar, Ludhiana and SAS Nagar and the project to set up shooting ranges in entire Punjab by piding into North, South, East, West and Central Zone is in the pipeline. Besides centres of excellence for boys and girls would come up in Mohali and Bathinda respectively. Moreover an Advisory Committee Comprising of ace players would be set to guide the process of systematic development of infrastructure for shooting.
He said that cash prizes would be introduced in school and State games besides the medals so as to extend an additional encouragement to the players. Mr. Majithia informed that he along with Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab have already met the Sports Minister of India and have requested him to incorporate the facility of extending advances for training expenses of the players and he has given a positive assurance and has asked for the proposal to be sent in writing. He said that Badal village shooting range has been set up at the cost of Rs. 1 crore and was considered best range of the country. The Punjab government has established Shooting academy for girls at village Badal where the girls were being provided free lodging and boarding. He said that PRSA has formed separate committees for Infrastructure Development and Planning & organizing various shooting competitions. He said that the Punjab government had appointed 10 outstanding players as DSPs which Include world class shooters namely Ronjan Sodhi, Avneet Sidhu,Manav Sandhu and Harveen Sarao.
Majithia pointed out that in the recent Commonwealth Games held at Glasgow, Indian shooters have shown that they have mettle to win medals as ace shooters Abhinav Bindra , Jitu Rai, Apurvi Chandela and Rahi Sarnobat won gold medals and out of country’s total 64 medals 19 were alone from shooting. He further said that India has won total 26 Olympic medals and 4 have come from Shooting including Gold by Abhinav Bindra in the 2008 Olympics. Indian shooters, who have excelled at the world stage, include Abhinav Bindra, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vijay Kumar, Gagan Narang, Ronjan Sodhi , Heena Sidhu and Anjali Bhagwat.
He said that the state government was making earnest efforts to promote sports in the state and earmarked Rs. 33 crore as annual sports budget for the year 2014-15. Besides this, 125 posts were being created for sportspersons of the state who win medals in Olympics, Asian and Commonwealth. He said that with a view to develop a sizeable pool of elite athletes and to groom them as medal prospects at National and International Competitions, our government has decided to establish Rs. 50 crore Punjab Institute of Sports (PIS) at SAS Nagar and further with PIS at the apex level, Centers of Excellence in selected sports disciplines would be set up in the State. The admitted players would be provided nutritious diet, medical aid, sports equipment, education, transport and scientific training under expert Indian & foreign coaches.
Earlier, speaking an the occasion Mrs. Avneet Kaur Sidhu, ace shooter stressed on the need for up-gradation of shooting ranges, World Class infrastructure and associations free from political pulls and pressures to promote shooting in the State. Raja K.S.Sidhu, General Secretary Olympic Association also suggested setting up of electronic targets/ranges in Punjab. It may be mentioned here that in 15th Punjab State Inter-school Shooting Championship total 16 events were played in two age categories U-15 and U-19. A total 278 participants from 78 schools representing 20 districts competed for top honours. Cash Award of Rs. 21,000/-, Rs. 14,000/- and Rs. 7,000/- was given as prize money for gold, silver and bronze medallists. Champion of champions in both women rifle and men rifle got Rs. 25,000/- each.Prominent amongst others, who were present on the occasion included ace shooter Avneet Kaur Sidhu, General Secretary Olympic Association Raja K.S.Sidhu and Commissioner of Police Mr. Jatiner Singh Aulakh.