THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was not long ago that Jerin James, excited by its sound and thrill, decided to try rifle shooting at the Calicut Rifle Club in Kozhikode. Inspired by his father, a shooting enthusiast and a regular member of the club, he began aiming at the targets set 50 m away, at the only shooting range in Kozhikode.
That is how Jerin began his envious run in one of the most untried sports in the district. About six years since he pulled the first trigger, Jerin has been making great strides in the sport, bagging more than six gold medals and eight national medals in open site rifle shooting. “I began practising rifle shooting as a hobby, and never gave it a serious thought. Later, I started to participate in competitions. Luckily, I got the medal in the first event, which gave me the confidence for the future events,” says Jerin, who has been a regular presence in the national shooting medal tables for five years consecutively.
Jerin says rifle shooting is not an oft-tried sport in the district, with many finding its expense a little too high. The immediate unavailability of weapon and ammunition is denying its enthusiasts an easy access, he adds.
“The Shooting Association is also struggling on a slippery slope. It requires proper backing from the district officials concerned. Many children don’t try it because of its unmanageable expense. A full kit, including weapon, jacket and ammunition, will cost between `30,000 and `1.5 lakh,” says Jerin, whose sister also practices shooting.
Though Jerin, who completed his engineering degree from Calicut University, practises shooting without the real intention of being a professional, he wants to bag a medal in the National Games, scheduled to begin next year. “The Asian Games medal is one of my main goals. I am working hard to get into the Kerala squad. But, winning the medal will be difficult, given the wealth of talent coming to test their might at India’s biggest sporting event,” he says.