Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pattiala Part II

Back to the last week end where i boarded a flight to Delhi around 10 hours after i had landed from the US to go and conduct some tests on our athletes. I had spoken about what needed to be done and since in the summer in the US a lot of the coaches have time on their hands so thought i shouldn't waste any time and choose some athletes to send there. Of course there is no co operation from any front and it is mind boggling to see how incompetent everyone really is. I was told that there would be around 8-10 girls there and so i began my journey...
On the track at 6:30am i could only find 3 girls and around the same number of boys along with about 5 coaches. Luckily i had a friend with me so at least someone was on my side because the coaches were all whispering and speaking different languages and it was pretty apparent who their comments were directed at.
The three girls tested were decent and fit most of the required parameters with one of them fulfilling all the requirements. The guys were a disaster!!! They almost have the same times as the women and it is appalling to see such a disparity in quality... Do we just not have good male athletes? Is there no base for any sort of development whatsoever.... what was even more disappointing was the fact that the tests that i did are not event specific but instead just to showcase if you are a decent athlete or not...
Anyway my trip wasn't fully wasted since one of our athletes Abhinav Bindra lives there and i took him up on an offer to get a shooting lesson.
The 10m Air Rifle that is the event of choice for Mr. Bindra and when i was first trying to learn the sport he told me not to go and watch because he said it would be more exciting "to watch paint dry." Of course i didn't heed and delved into watching as much as i could and yes i can see how people could find it "boring." The thing that made me so intrigued was what exactly possessed people to take up this sport and what motivated them to shoot at a little black dot 10m away all day long 24/7/365.
So here was my opportunity and anyone who knows the sport will tell you that i was getting a lesson from one of the top authorities in the sport. So we started off first shooting off a table, then shooting off a stand and then finally working on the right form. It is the weirdest thing but you get this "great" feeling when you are looking through the sights and you shoot a good shot. It is hard to explain and i never understood it when the shooters would all tell me but it is that feeling that you get for 1/millionth of a split second that urges you on to try it again and again and again...
So 6 hours later and one lunch in between we were still at Abhinav's range with him patiently standing behind me correcting every mistake and adjusting my equipment. Even after i was done i was thinking about getting that ever elusive "10" so much so that i got up early the next morning before we were to leave and squeezed in a quick shooting session.
The one revelation i did have (other than getting my 10 on my 37th shot of the morning) was that it was easy to see why Abhinav was the best in the world. It is very rare and heartening to see people so committed and passionate about their sport that the highlight of their day is just to get an opportunity to hold the gun.

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus