Shooting: Heena Sidhu expresses displeasure over poor condition of Pune's shooting range
Indian shooter Heena Sidhu fumed over the bad state of the Balewadi shooting range in Pune. This comes ahead of the National Shooting Championship in rifle and pistol that is all set to get underway at the venue from December 13 to 26.
It is not just one problem that plagues the shooters who have arrived in Pune for training but a host of them which adds to the misery. Olympian Heena Sidhu said she has to wait in a line for her turn akin to the one outside banks these days, a cause that has hampered her preparations. "Because there are problems with most of the lanes (targets), availability is a big issue. I have to stand in queue for my turn. I get to shoot if I am lucky. If not, then I have to go back to the hotel," she was quoted as saying to the Times Of India.
The gold medalist at the World Cup finals, Heena said she returned to the range after a long time, and the poor conditions of the arena have appalled her, "I am here after a year, and I was shocked to see that the condition of the range has deteriorated. More than 50% of the targets don't work at both 10m and 25m ranges. There is a lot of grass in the 25m range and bulbs over the targets are either missing or not working at all."
Heena took to Twitter in order to vent her frustration.
Former Olympian Anjali Bhagwat also stepped forward in Heena’s support, lamenting the condition of the shooting range. "The targets, installed in 2008, were repaired two years ago. Now, we have many targets that need repair ahead of the nationals," Anjali said.
The 27-year-old is the only Indian pistol shooter to be ranked number 1 at the global level. However, she did not make the cut in the finals of the 10m air pistol event at the Rio Olympics in August and her run came to an end when she finished 21st in the qualification for the 25m Pistol Shooting.
Recently, she was also in the news for withdrawing her name from the Asian Airgun Championships to be held in Iran, for the rules of the organizers that required all women participants to sport a hijab which she refused to comply with, and hence pulled out.
The National Championships will be organised by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) with the support of the Maharashtra Rifle Association.