National Games: Music in shooting arena - nuance or nuisance?

The National Games had performers playing the dhol – an Indian percussion instrument – inside the Ahmedabad Military and Rifle Training Association in Khanpur. Is this within the rules though?

The National Games had performers playing the  dhol – an Indian percussion instrument – inside the Ahmedabad Military and Rifle Training Association in Khanpur. Is this within the rules though?

The athletes were divided in their opinion about the loud dhol playing at the shooting venue of the National Games on Sunday

The athletes were divided in their opinion about the loud dhol playing at the shooting venue of the National Games on Sunday | Photo Credit: Santadeep Dey

The choice of music allowed inside a shooting range is a grey area. 

Breaking away from the archaic ‘pin-drop silence in the spectators’ area’ rule, the International Shooting Sport Federation, in 2016, published a playlist of select 75 songs that could be played in the arena. 

In 2018, the ISSF Athletes Committee recommended the usage of updated Billboard numbers to break the monotony. It was also clearly mentioned, “Any techno, trance or music with a lot of bass or screams that can cause tremble need to be avoided.” 

In 2022, however, there is no mention of a playlist anywhere on the general regulations book. 

The National Games organising committee, to make the sport more spectator-friendly, had performers playing the  dhol – an Indian percussion instrument – inside the Ahmedabad Military and Rifle Training Association in Khanpur.  

A few guests and even volunteers clearly enjoyed the festivities, swaying to the beat every now and then. There was also loud encouragement and calling out of the names of a few athletes, a strict no-no at any range. 

“You can’t call out any participant’s name during the contest. That is prohibited. About the noise, well, I won’t say right or wrong, but the athlete has the right to protest. He or she can claim disturbance and it is up to the jury and technical officials to decide. If they are not saying anything, you can assume they are fine with it,” one of the coaches said. 

The athletes were divided in their opinion. One of the pistol shooters said: “I can’t say that it doesn’t come to your ears. But you must know how to avoid thinking about it.” 

Another added, “It can be off-putting if you are doing badly. But otherwise, it may sometimes, pump you up.” 

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