Shooting: Mairaj chases his gun before World Cup

The delayed arrival of the gun permit meant Mairaj driving from Tucson to Houston, about 1700 kilometres one way, to get his prized weapon.

Mairaj Ahmed Khan. (File Photo)   -  Special Arrangement

Most of us are familiar with the story of lucky loser Marco Trungelliti who drove from Barcelona to Paris, a distance of about 1000 kilometres, to claim a spot in the main draw of the French Open tennis tournament.

It was a very interesting story, especially for the Indian fans as Prajnesh Gunneswaran had opted to go to a Challenger tournament and thus missed the chance of making the main draw of French Open as a 'lucky loser'.

Mairaj Ahmed Khan, who missed the skeet final in a shoot-off after being tied on 121, in the Rio Olympics, has ventured to better the record of the tennis player!

The delayed arrival of the gun permit, an issue that has left many shooters without their guns prior to the Shotgun World Cup in Tucson, US, meant that the 42-year-old Mairaj driving from Tucson to Houston, about 1700 kilometres one way, to get his prized weapon.

In the 12-member Indian squad, another skeet shooter Sheeraz Sheikh also had issues with his gun permit, and thus Mairaj had company and a trusted friend to share the driving.

"I have got the permit, but the gun is at the Houston airport. Have to go there to get it. Tomorrow is the official training and there is no flight now. So, we are driving. It is only 15 hours one way! We will reach by morning," said Mairaj when contacted in the US.

Quite possibly the American federation had mishandled the gun permits and thus there were many who were without their gun.

"Many shooters are struggling. The Korean team doesn’t have permits. Many other teams don’t have", said Mairaj, opting to be the navigator temporarily and letting Sheeraz drive the car.

While the World Cup starts with women’s skeet on Wednesday, the men’s skeet competition will be from Thursday.

Recently, Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar was stranded without his pistol, misplaced by the airlines, in the last World Cup in Munich. He borrowed the spare gun of Gurpreet Singh and competed.

Vijay was lucky to get back his gun on the return journey.

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