Shooting Sports Foundation India, a Thiruvananthapuram-based shooting academy, was launched in 2012 as the first of its kind entity imparting shooting education in the state.
For a sport that does not enjoy a huge fan following in the state, it is interesting to take note that the academy at Peroorkada here is expected to shape up some of the most talented marksmen in the country in the coming years.
“It is experimentally proven that south Indians, especially Keralites, are the most suited in the country to excel in the sport. We are ahead in terms of concentration and other essential attributes, but these abilities are often left untapped,” Roshin Mathew, general secretary of the academy, explains why the academy is based in the city. The academy was inaugurated by Jacob Punnoose in June 2012 in a function presided over by Sunny Thomas who has coached shooting aces like Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Abhinav Bindra during 19 years as the national shooting coach.
“It is a very novel initiative to start a shooting academy in Kerala. The response from the youngsters in the state was overwhelming and this has raised high hopes on the future of shooting,” Thomas, who is also a founding president and one of the several international coaches involved with the academy, said.
Around 12 national-level marksmen practise under the banner of the academy now and another 50 or so are upcoming talents from the state. Though there are no proper shooting ranges in the state, the academy is active by conducting camps around the country.
The academy has already given a boost to shooting sports in Kerala. Their trap and skeet camp in Hyderabad, perhaps the first in the
discipline in south India, has resulted in Kerala being represented for the first time in the event in the national championships.
“Once the shooting range at Vattiyoorkavu, which is under construction for the National Games, is completed, we will start the full-fledged academy based from there,” Roshin said. The academy will include a physical training institute, a mental training institute and a research institute.
“We will introduce state-of-the-art training facilities and equipment which will monitor oxygen levels, brain waves and several such factors to get optimal performance from the shooters,” Roshin, who is also a mental trainer apart from being a certified rifle coach, said.
The foundation has also plans to sponsor 20 young talents from the country with the objective of producing an international shooter, under their ‘Dream for Gold’ project, who will win an Olympic gold for India.