Feet planted squarely, body aligned, last week I find myself peering down the peep sight of a .177 air rifle. Chinnaiya Vasanthan assures me that I have done well with three perforated spots within the bull’s eye on the target card, while his partner B Madhan, who works with the ICF, explains the importance of holding my breath just before pulling the trigger. The four-month-old Mission Academy of Shooting Sports perched on top of Nalas Appakadai may look unassuming but impresses with an air conditioned, international standard nine lane, 10 metre range, imported German pellets — and that has India’s first lady shooter, the celebrated TK Varalakshmi (70) as their honorary coach.
Childhood friends, both Vasanth and Madhan hail from Madurai, where they tell me they started shooting a rifle from the age of five as a recreation, as their family owned firearms! Vasanth, an assistant manager at New India Insurance explains, “We found it very difficult to pursue our passion here as getting into clubs like Chennai Rifle Club was really difficult.” That’s when the forty-year-olds, who are also professional hockey players, decided to open their own place.Offering membership for students (Rs 3000 monthly), non-students (Rs 4000) and a recreational one-time experience at Rs 500 for 40 pellets that will last for about an hour, “This is not about generating an income. It is purely for the sake of the sport. We hope to identify talent and train them to make a mark in the competitive level,” shares Vasanth.
This Sunday, the range is hosting a tournament among their members and members of four other rifle clubs in the city in the 10 metres air pistol category. In the pipeline are electronic targets and the computerised SCATT system.
From 11 am to 8 pm. 11 years onwards, Details: 9962633788 /9884991517