When Bindra won gold, the Rifle distributors of the region hit the real jackpot, as the region is witnessing an unprecedented increase in the sale of rifles and interest associated with sport seems to be rising.
Shop attendants at Ahuja Arms Company have never this busy as they sold 65 air rifles in just one day and received fresh orders for 50 more. Ravi Ahuja from Ahuja Arms Company, the region’s sole distributor of air rifles said, “Last Friday we received 68 pieces of such rifles from Ahmedabad but with Abhinav winning gold, we have already sold 65. We anticipate a huge interest in the sport. In 2007, we sold close to 1,000 rifles. This year till July 31 we sold 400, but in the four months from now we are looking at about 2,000.”
Ahuja added that Bindra used to come to him when he was 14, just a beginner and now when he sees children enquire about rifles, and it reminds him of Bindra. “The public has shown a great interest in the sport but the government has not recognized this as a sport, they focus too much on cricket. The sport will be popular only when there will be proper infrastructure in the schools and colleges.”
The sale has increased partially but there are signs that there will a growth because I have received many queries especially from students said Gurpreet Bhandari from Bhandari Gun House. “The shop has been flooded with inquisitive students and parents, It is not common to see mothers bring their young sons for rifle shopping. We sold 10 rifles the day after Bindra’s victory and estimating that there will be an increase in the demand, we have asked for another 50 air rifles from a Kolkata manufacturer,” he added.
Ahuja, who is also general secretary of Chandigarh Arms Dealers Association, added, “Buyers, especially young students are calling up enquiring about the costs, the training etc. Even dealers are calling up from Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh are also demanding. We have placed orders with an Ahmedabad based manufacturing unit to supply us more rifles.”
Abhinav’s Father, a known industrialist apparently spent crores on his training, providing him with indoor shooting range equipped with computerized gazets, in his backyard. The prohibitive cost might be an impediment in making this a popular sport but for many Punjabi parents it is hardly a deterrent. Father of a 13-year-old, Kartik Verma said that during his childhood sports meant only cricket, “times have changed now and when my son said that he wanted to be like Abhinav I was supportive. But there is a need for basic infrastructure; the nearest shooting range is Patiali-ki-Rao, it would be good if there was an academy,” as his son shot an imaginary target in the gun shop.