Hyderabad: Niranjan Reddy is a man on a mission. The first coach of London Olympics bronze medallist and ace shooter Gagan Narang continues to train budding shooters in his shooting range at home and produce impressive results. The recent success story is that of Arcita Karar, a Class X student who clinched two gold medals in the 11th South Zone Shooting Championship at Thodupuzha in Kerala.
The coach, who won a bronze in 2002 National Games, started his journey in shooting for his physically challenged son Sandesh Reddy. A seven-time national champion, Sandesh quit the sport in 2007 when he was told that his certificates of excellence in shooting can’t provide him a sports quota for engineering admissions.
“Back then, para-athletes were not considered under the sports quota. The admission rules have changed now for the better. My son had no other options at that time. So, he pursued software engineering while I continued to train more shooters,” the experienced administrator-cum-coach, who retired as an RTO from RTA, Malakpet said.
Talking about the training process, Niranjan said Arcita was told to skip all the major events except the State championship for one year. “Shooting is a game of patience and skills. I wanted Arcita to be at her best before competing in big tournaments. She also showed good dedication. She used to come to my shooting range for the afternoon sessions after taking permission from the school authorities. Winning two gold medals is a tremendous achievement which made me happy,” a proud Niranjan said.
Meanwhile, talking about her victory, Arcita said she is happy with the training she is receiving from Niranjan Reddy. “Niranjan sir is offering me personal training and we practice 3/4 hours daily. We want to win more competitions in the future and we will try hard to achieve it.”
Being the founder member of the Shooting Association of AP in 1997/98, Niranjan feels that the State can offer much more to support the aspiring shooters. “We have Esha Singh and Dhanush Srikanth, two young shooters who have done well at the national level. We have many more promising shooters who are unable to improve their skills because we lack advanced training facilities in the State. Gagan Narang had approached the SATS with a proposal and it is yet to be implemented because the decision has not been made from the government level,” he pointed out.
The next target of Niranjan, who continues to participate in State shooting championships, is to train Arcita for the Nationals which is scheduled to take place in November. “I am upgrading the facilities in my shooting range in the best possible way. I am open to training more children, provided they show dedication to the sport and are willing to learn for at least one year,” he signed off.