Published: 08th December 2017
How Vizag shooter Naresh Kumar's crowdfunding for an air rifle just about missed GST
Naresh Kumar had managed to crowdfund and scrape together the cash he needed for an air rifle but he just about managed to buy it before the GST on it took the cost out of his reach
Like every other sportsman, 23-year-old Naresh Kumar too has one ultimate goal — to represent India in the Olympics, win a gold medal and see the Tricolour hoisted above the rest of the countries. This Air Rifle shooter from Visakhapatnam has already won a silver and two golds at the district level and is doing all that he can to make sure the Olympic gold he aspires for is on the horizon too.
But a few months ago, though he had his vision in place, he did not have the means to get to it, he had no air rifle. "This sport is an expensive one as we have to carry our own guns and ammunition," he says, adding that upon this, there is hardly any support from the government. He has turned to many universities in Vizag only to hear that shooting is not their priority as there are many other sports which need their focus.
Kumar pursued his M Tech at Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering, Visakhapatnam
Shooting is like meditation for me. I may look calm on the outside, but there are a lot of thoughts going on in my head
Naresh Kumar, Shooter
So, he did what any youngster would do today; he turned to crowdfunding on Ketto in March this year. The rifle would cost him about Rs 1.99 lakh, but this was before GST, which thankfully he caught wind of before. "The rifle dealer told me about GST a few days before its implementation, so I immediately closed the campaign," recalls Kumar, who is still extremely grateful to the man because otherwise, after a hike of 18%, the rifle would have cost him about Rs 2.45 lakh.
Kumar has participated in various shooting competitions including two South Zone shooting competitions
So, after getting one lakh eight thousand from the campaign, 40 thousand from corporates and making up the deficit with a personal loan, he finally purchased the rifle along with a pair of gloves, a jacket and other shooting accessories. Now, we all know the power of the people, but Kumar was still amazed by the response and was surprised that crowdfunding really worked out for him. "I had set my time limit as 60 days, but I've seen people extending it till even 18 months and still not reach their target," he says.
Aim right: Kumar during a practice session
Apart from being lucky enough to get a major chunk of his total amount through donations (he even received about $750 from a donor in the US), Kumar is also lucky when it comes to friends. Syed Minhaj Ullah, a friend of Kumar's, travelled by bike from Hyderabad to Srikakulam and back again with a picture of Kumar and the link to his fundraising campaign printed on his T-shirt to raise awareness about the campaign. "He is the main reason I received funds," he says gratefully, adding that, "My family did feel helpless that I had to ask someone else for the money, but when they look at my achievements, they are reassured," he says, humbly.
Friend indeed: Syed Minhaj Ullah travelled 15,000 km to raise awareness for Naresh Kumar
Kumar trained at the Visakha District Rifle Association for three years and currently, he is in Hyderabad training at Olympian Gagan Narang's academy, Gun for Glory. His ultimate aim, he reiterates, is to win that much-coveted Olympic gold.