From minimal facilities to maximum output: Story of Veer Samal Rifle Club Academy where Saurabh Chaudhary trains

Amit Sheoran, Saurabh's coach and the lone man running the Veer Samal Rifle Club Academy, says all participants might have lacked proper facilities but they made up for it with the hunger to learn.

Published: 22nd August 2018 06:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd August 2018 06:57 AM   |  A+A-

Saurabh Chaudhary

Saurabh Chaudhary will be a favourite to win gold medal for India at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This feat has only been achieved by Abhinav Bindra at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: An open shooting arena with just a tin shed. A manual target pulley. A complete contrast to world-class facilities, athletes — established and newcomers — crave for. That’s where Saurabh Chaudhary first got a taste of the sport. Any observer might have mistaken a routine session there as recreational activity among kids in the village. Benauli, a nondescript village near Baghpat around 53 kilometers from Meerut (UP), is a place with a shooting pedigree. It has produced a number of shooters from some two dozen shooting clubs. Ask Amit Sheoran, Saurabh’s coach and the lone man running the Veer Samal Rifle Club Academy.

He says all participants might have lacked proper facilities but they made up for it with the hunger to learn. “In the beginning, I managed to get just two pistols. Maximum output with limited resources. That’s how they (his wards including Saurabh) became mentally strong,” Amit said, about what he preaches to his students. Amit himself had once aspired to become a shooter during his younger days but had to give up due to family issues.

“I had to quit due to some issues. My father also passed around that time. But I had that fire in my belly. I always wanted to be part of the sport in some way or the other. That’s why I started the academy with just four students in 2011. I set my mind to it to see what can be done to help the youngsters. That’s how it all began. I used to take Rs 200 as entry fee. The rent was around Rs 800. I had spent around Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh initially,” Amit, who started the academy in 2011, recalled. From a mere four students, the former national-level shooter, started to attract more. It was in 2014 when Saurabh first joined the academy. He could sense then that the young boy was special.

“He is very attentive and a quick learner. He applies whatever he learns in no time,” he said. Now he has around 26 full-time shooters (all from the village), gunning to become champions. “Results kept coming. It spurred me and the kids too. Few of them even joined the army.” Just two years ago, the academy got a facelift. With the help of his friend, the facility was relocated elsewhere. Most importantly it now has a proper roof and is indoors.

“With a limited budget (around Rs 4-5 lakh) we got a new facility. In fact, my students volunteered to help me with small tasks: like fixing bulbs, etc,” the 41-year-old revealed. Saurabh’s record-breaking hit while lining up alongside creme de la creme of the sport in Palembang was a victory for Amit and his academy too. “I’m so proud of him. He has sacrificed a lot,” he said.

India Matters


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