Shillong, Nov 4: Meghalaya’s shooters celebrated the opening of their very own 10m indoor precision shooting range, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma here today.

The range, in the Demthring neighbourhood, will open up opportunities for more practice; the state’s shooters had until now been limited to two-hour sessions at an army facility.

Sangma formally opened the shooting range in the presence of Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh, Shooting Association of Meghalaya officials and those of the Meghalaya State Olympic Association at a scaled-down event (due to Covid-19 protocols).

The eight-lane centre was built at a cost of around Rs 10 lakh and Sangma announced that the government would recompense SAM for 50% of the amount.

SAM President John F Kharshiing described the day as a “historic moment” in the history of the association.

“Under difficult constraints we have produced seven renowned shooters and picked up plent of medals at North East zone shooting events,” he said.

The Sports Minister hoped that many youth will be able to develop their skills and make a name for themselves and for the state through the use of this shooting range.

“We need to see other sports associations come up with this kind of infrastructure as well,” Lyngdoh added.

“Though it may be a small step, we need to start with small steps also,” the CM said. “I am very concerned and optimistic at the same time about the sporting scenario in the state because our youth are very interested and I believe strongly that sports is a very important aspect of a child’s growth because it builds character.”

He also added that his government is examining how Meghalaya’s youth policy, which is being worked on, can encourage young people to explore their hobbies with government support, be it in sports, music or other areas.

Sangma was then given a tour of the facility and enjoyed an air rifle and air pistol demonstration. He also had a go at firing an air pistol himself.

While thanking the CM for the offer of reimbursing SAM for half of the expenses incurred in setting up the shooting range, Kharshiing also mentioned that the association is looking to explore revenue generation ideas, such as charging a membership fee to make it financially sustainable.

(TSR photo)

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