From makeshift range to SAG, Maldives make a start

Shooting Story

The nervousness on Fayaz Hussain’s face was very evident when he took aim in the 50M rifle prone men’s final. Not only was he competing in the final of an international event in his maiden appearance, he was also taking aim alongside an Olympic medal winner Gagan Narang and a skilful shooter in Chain Singh.

Hussain eventually succumbed to the nerves in the final, tumbling out at the first application of the cut after managing a score of 78.1 in his opening three sets of attempts. The 27-year-old’s performance, however, was a commendable one considering the adversities he has overcome.

A corporal in the Maldives army, Hussain and the rest of his shooting contingent stepped onto a proper range for the first time in their careers. They’ve checked into the 12th South Asian Games by just honing their skills in an open area, hoping to use the trip to India as competition-cum-training exposure.

“We don’t have a range back home and I’m just delighted having shot in a proper facility for the first time in my career,” a delighted Hussain told Deccan Herald. “We shooters — mostly army folks — built a practice facility by ourselves. It’s an open area where the target is kept at the specified distance.

“We’ve fixed a CCTV camera to the target and watch our shots on a laptop next to us. There is no points calculation like you see in international competitions. Being an open area, we need to have proper weather to train. If it rains, then our training stands cancelled. If its hot, then too we can’t train. Procuring ammunition is also an expensive affair. I’m really happy with what I’ve done today,” gushed Hussain whose qualification score of 610.9 was a national record for his country.

Hussain’s team-mate Sumad Ibrahim too echoed the thoughts before adding that they are using this event as an exposure trip. “India have got such top level shooters. There’s Gagan Narang, Abhinav Bindra, the list is big. We just met Gagan and took some valuable tips from him. We also met other shooters. Coming here and shooting with the Indians and the rest of them is big for us.”

Abdulla Mohamed hoped they make more such trips in the future. “Only when such events are staged, will we get a chance to shoot in the range. So this is big for us.”

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