Daniele Di Spignio infuses life into Manav Rachna Academy

Daniele Di Spignio says Indian shooters need a lot more competition.

Daniele Di Spignio (second from left) with Ronjan Sodhi, Shreyasi Singh, Varsha Tomar and Ankur Mittal at the Manav Rachna Shotgun Academy in Pali, during the Perazzi Cup, on Friday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Daniele Di Spignio believes in building champions from scratch, driving home the good basics into their system, so that they blossom without even the support of the coach.

A former World Champion in double trap, who had finished seventh in the Athens Olympics when his friend Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the silver, the 44-year-old Daniele spends almost half his time every month at the beautifully-designed Manav Rachna Academy in Pali.

"The biggest attraction is that we have machines that can send the clay at different speeds. So, when a beginner comes, they get to hit the bird very quickly and get attached to the sport," revealed Daniele, even as a stream of top-class shooters including Shagun Chowdhary, Shreyasi Singh, Lakshay Sheoran, Ankur Mittal, Varsha Tomar, Bhowneesh Mendiratta went through their drill in preparation for the Perazzi Cup, a multi-city event.

"Indian shooters need a lot more competition. We are planning to get them regular competition in the country, so that they can gauge their progress better, and train with purpose,’’ said the Italian, who is into a big project of introducing shooting in schools back home in Italy.

Even though he is an expert in double trap, Daniele points out that he had started with trap, and understands the nuances of skeet as well. In fact, he teaches the coaches in these events.

"I may not be able to shoot skeet that well, even though I understand the mechanics and know what to do. Shooting works more on muscle memory. So, one needs to train regularly to build the correct technique," he said.

Attracted by the vision of Amit Bhalla, the brain behind everything sports in the Manav Rachna Educational Institutions, the multiple world champion was further convinced about putting his energy behind the Academy when he found that the former World No.1, Asian Games gold
medallist and multiple World Cup Final gold-medallist, Ronjan Sodhi was fully entrenched in the shooting project.

National champion Shagun Chowdhary has no hesitation in saying that she owes a lot of her growth to the coaching of the Italian.

On his part, Daniele says that the Indian women trap shooters need to improve their average score to world class standards so as to be able to win the big laurels. The only way forward is to have more competition.

Read: Indian shooters hit big, miss small

"Mere training is not enough. Training has to be specific and with correct guidance. You have to break the entire mechanics into various segments and address the problematic ones to tune the whole mechanism to perfection," he said.

The Indian shotgun shooters are bound to flourish with such masterly guidance from the man who is continuing with his education back home, and is studying the bio-mechanics, especially in relation to shooting sport.

Daniele Di Spignio does not sell champion dreams to the trainees or their parents, but gives them good basics and sound knowledge so that they achieve the higher goals without having to dream about them.

Equally, he wants the shooters to think independently and find their own path, rather than be dependent on the coach for every small aspect of the sport.