Sports Minister asks athletes to emulate Bindra at Shooting World Cup

With the ISSF having conducted its general assembly and executive committee meetings here over the last two days the cream of the sports officials as well as shooters from 50 countries, enjoyed a crisp opening ceremony

Gagan Narang and Heena Sidhu took the oath of honour on behalf of the athletes at the inauguration ceremony of the Shooting World Cup.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

The Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel had very encouraging words for the Indian shooters as he inaugurated the first World Cup of the season at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Thursday.

Even though he named Gagan Narang, Heena Sidhu, Jitu Rai and Chain Singh, the Sports Minister goaded all the Indian shooters, what with the host fielding the largest contingent of 63 shooters, to follow the footprints of the country’s only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and bring glory to the nation.

“I call upon everyone to follow Abhinav Bindra and make a lot of records,” the Minister said, after declaring the World Cup open, in the presence of the ISSF president Olegario Vazquez Rana and the secretary general Franz Schreiber.

“I have great expectations from our shooters and look forward to their performances over the next week,” Vijay Goel said.

The Sports Minister recalled that the shooting range, built for the 1982 Asian Games had been considerably developed over the years to world class standards and expressed his happiness that it would host the World Cup Finals in October, and another World Cup in 2019, which would offer Olympic quota places in rifle and pistol for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Minister also took the opportunity to point out that the formation of Sports Ministry had helped in taking such elite sports like shooting to the common man which had earlier belonged to the “privileged class”. He also stressed the development of shooting sport following the liberalisation of arms act as well as the support through import policy for ammunition and equipment.

“I am happy to be here in the beautiful city again,” said the ISSF president Olegario Vazquez Rana. Commending the organisers for the “excellent arrangements, hospitality and friendship”, he said that Delhi would be the centre of attention for the shooting world for the next 10 days.

With the ISSF having conducted its general assembly and executive committee meetings here over the last two days the cream of the sports officials as well as shooters from 50 countries, enjoyed a crisp opening ceremony, after the president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), Raninder Singh, welcomed the gathering.

Gagan Narang and Heena Sidhu took the oath of honour on behalf of the athletes, while Dhiren Bhatia and another delegate from abroad took the oath on behalf of the officials.

An energetic dance show by Zenith troupe, to a mix of Western and Indian numbers, along with a brilliant “hand shadowgraphy” by Amar Sen, kept everyone entertained on a pleasant evening, on the eve of competition.

The opening day’s programme on Friday will have men’s and women’s air rifle apart from women’s trap finals. There will also be the first stage of competition in men’s rapid fire pistol as well as trap.

The secretary general of NRAI, D.V. Seetharama Rao proposed a vote of thanks and remembered to mention every individual and agency associated in the successful conduct of the World Cup.