It may have been at home rather than the range, but Indian shooters Manu Bhaker and Amanpreet Singh were amongst those who impressed as the newly-arranged International Online Shooting Championship took place.
With electronic targets set up in their houses, a total of 50 shooters from seven countries took part in the competition by logging in on the Zoom platform on Wednesday.
The marksmen placed their mobile phone in an angle where the camera captured their posture and had the target screen in the frame in what was a first-of-its-kind championship.
Becoming a part of history, however, wasn’t easy as the shooters were seen modifying their bedrooms, balconies and basements to attain the 10m distance in order to compete in the online competition.
While Amanpreet Singh topped the 10m air pistol competition with a score of 576, Ashish Dabbas finished second with 575 and Manu Bhaker ended with a score 572 in the third place.
"The (her electronic targetting) system was not very precise. However, I think it’s a great initiative. We are together, shooting and united and it was lovely being a part of the competition,” Manu Bhaker said after her session ended.
The 10m air rifle event saw Austria’s Martin Strempfl shooting a score of 632.5 to finish on top and India’s Meghana Sajjanar finishing second with a score of 630.5, while Etienne Germond of France sat in the third position with 629.4.
Not a smooth run
India’s world number one 10m air rifle shooter Divyansh Singh Panwar, who finished fourth with a score of 627.8, shot from his bedroom with his range covering a couple of open doors and a corridor. The target was pressed against the back of a clothes shelf at the end of the corridor.
Sanjeev Rajput, who was shooting from his basement, realized midway that his remote for the electronic target wasn’t working and had to restart all over again.
While most shooters managed to attain the distance, some, like Germond Etienne, later confessed that he could only make seven meters between himself and the target.
"It's like shooting in a single lane. It's a lot slower and I can't shoot as much as at the camp because it takes time between rounds to manually load the target, but it's fine," said Manu Bhaker, whose signal snapped in the middle of the competition, told ESPN.
The silver lining
With the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) cancelling events this year and the ongoing lockdowns restricting shooters to their homes away from practice ranges, the online shooting championship has emerged as a competitive outlet for the athletes.
Though a lot of aspects of the online tournament needs ironing out, organisers believe that the online format has the potential to grow.