'There is a total stop on everything. Of course, production and export has taken a hit due to the bad situation in Europe'
The shooters have figured a way to resume action amid the lockdown but the fortunes of an Indian company that exports shooting accessories to over 70 countries have nose-dived and its "visibility diminished" due to the stalling of all competitions by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These are not good times for Nilesh Rane, founder of Capapie Sports Equipments, who has over the years built a solid reputation of manufacturing world-class jackets, trousers, shoes and hand gloves for rifle shooters.
Rane, a former national-level rifle shooter himself, prefers to remain optimistic even in the worst of times and is confident that the company will wriggle out of it as things get better with time.
"Revenue has also taken a hit," he told PTI.
With the world in lockdown and shipments restricted, he is not able to export his produce to the countries whose top shooters normally rely on him.
"There is a total stop on everything. Of course, production and export has taken a hit due to the bad situation in Europe.
"We are the leading manufacturers, a leading brand in the world now when it comes to jacket, trouser, gloves and shoes, top shooters take from us," he said.
All tournaments, big and small, have been either postponed or cancelled in recent times due to the fast-spreading novel coronavirus that has so far claimed over 1,60,000 lives while infecting more than 20 lakh people across the world.
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has recently cancelled all its scheduled tournaments this year, including the World Cups. However, shooters took part in an online competition recently.
The first-of-its-kind championship was held earlier this week.
Rane believes the virtual event gave them some visibility, with some of the shooters wearing the jackets and trousers manufactured by Capapie.
"That online event was something positive, a break from negativity in these times. This online event is a good initiative and we really feel good when shooters wear our dresses (clothes)," he said.
"Shooting is a niche sport, and not like, say, cricket, so it more difficult when we are talking about visibility."
Rane, who is also sponsoring a couple of refugee shooters' preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, feels the postponement of the Games by a year may help them provide the shooters with even better material.
"See the shooters are relaxed after the postponement of Olympics. But they also want to compete every now and then, so that's why this was a good initiative as they got a feel of competition. They will look at it as a positive sign.
"Coming back to the Olympics, the postponement will give us more time to cater to the shooters' requirements. We have given them customised shoes, trousers and jackets. That's what top shooters want, just like a Sachin Tendulkar used a customised bat."
"So we are looking at it also in a positive way. We have gone international some years ago and we try to give them the best as per their requirements."
Besides, a majority of top rifle shooters across the world, he gives his accessories to the likes of top Indian rifle shooters such as Divyansh Singh Panwar, Anjum Moudgil, Elavenil Valarivan, Mehuli Ghosh and Deepak Kumar among others.