Despite meager facilities, women in Himachal have made it big by winning gold and bronze medals at the Asian shooting championship in Qatar. Himachal CM has congratulated the women and hoped that they will continue to bring laurels to the country and the state.
Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal congratulated Vijay Kumar has won 139 medals in shooting at different national and international-level competitions. He expressed hope that Vijay Kumar would also bring laurels to the country as well as State in future also.
On the other hand the achievement of Anchal Rana can’t be ignored. Vijay Kumar is serving in Indian Army but Anchal Rana is a student. She is a B Sc second-year student from Dharamsala Government College, and has made a name for herself in a sport where women of Himachal have not yet ventured. She has become the first professional pistol shooter from the state. Besides Anchal, Sonia Rai, from the CISF is the only woman from Himachal to have taken up professional pistol shooting. She, however, got her training in Delhi while Anchal has trained in the fields of Himachal.
Anchal has become the first female to enter the shooting sport in the region. She started shooting with her father’s .22 pistol at the age of 15. She said she used to watch her father, who is also a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, shooting at their private range in Gummer village. Gauging her acumen in shooting, her father introduced her to the world professional shooting. Since then Anchal has never looked back. She won individual medals in many national and international shooting events with her .22 pistol.
Gurbhachan Singh, father and coach of Anchal Rana was elated at the news of his daughter winning a medal at Doha Qatar. While talking to media at Dharmshala, he said Anchal had won the medal despite meager facilities available for training. She had been training at a shooting range created at their native Gumer village near Jawalamukhi. The shooting range comprises just a target fixed on a hillock.
Gurbhachan Singh said that the Kangra Rifle Association at Gumer village created a shooting range, however that range had been washed away in the monsoons. Now Anchal had to practise in their shooting range created along the small hillock. Though there are 150 members of the National Rifle Association in Kangra district, there is no professional facility for training in the sport.
Anchal’s father said the state government should create at least 10-m indoor ranges in the state where junior-level entrants to the sports could train. Besides, shooting was a very costly sport. If the government provided some kind of support to budding shooting players from the state, they could easily make a name for themselves at the national and international levels, he said.
Kangra district has the highest number of gun licences issued in the state for self-protection. Keeping guns has been a tradition in many families of the district. However, shooting has not come up as a sport in the area, but for exceptions like Anchal Rana.