'Shooters felt pressure in online championship'

'Shooters felt competitive spirit as well as pressure in online championship'

Representative photo (Credit: iStock)

The online international shooting championship has been able to "awaken the competitive spirit" in top shooters and put them under some pressure too, the kind that normally accompanies a tournament at a range outside, says the brain behind the initiative.

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Former India shooter Shimon Sharif has successfully organised the second edition of the virtual tournament last Saturday and he is optimistic of this becoming a regular affair at a time when the world is under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, he feels similar tournaments can be organised even when normalcy returns, athletes venture out and sporting events resume outdoor.

"After the tournament the participating shooters Divyansh Singh Panwar, Manu Bhaker (she had competed in the first edition as well) and Sanjeev Rajput told me that they felt the same kind of pressure and that is very important," Sharif told PTI.

Olympic and World Cup medallist Gagan Narang endorsed the event, saying it is great that the momentum is being carried on, while current generation rifle ace Mehuli Ghosh felt the competitive spirit after she joined the proceedings as a guest for the second edition of the championship.

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"Mehuli could not take part because her target system is not set up yet, but she watched it live and told me later that even witnessing it awakened her competitive spirit and made her want to get back to it as soon as possible," Sharif, who represented India in the World Cup, said.

Having tasted success over the last two weeks, Sharif, who runs the portal indianshooting.com, is optimistically looking ahead.

He is delighted that he has been able to help the shooters re-engage with their sport despite the lockdown and the stringent measures that are in place to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Sharif has largely succeeded in incorporating every possible real-life element to make the tournament as interesting and competitive as possible.

Shooters participate in the championship by logging on to the Zoom platform from their respective locations and shoot electronic targets set up in their houses, the screen for which is shared for the scores to be marked.

The competition is live-streamed on the internet and prominent Indian international coaches join in through video chats.

After the pandemic led to either cancellation or postponement of all shooting events, including the ISSF World Cups, the online championship has generated a good amount of interest.