Imphal: The 29th edition of the All Manipur Shooting Championship kick-started on Monday at the shooting range in Khuman Lampak Sports Complex, Imphal. Over 100 budding shooters from across six units of the Manipur Rifle Association (MRA) have converged under a single platform, vying for the top spot in the state-level shooting tournament.
Of the total 117 participants, 32 are young women shooters competing equally with their male counterparts in various shooting categories, including 10 mm, 25 mm and 50 mm.
Organised by MRA, the week-long event from July 29 to August 4 aims to promote and identify young talents and nurture their skills, so that they can represent in bigger platforms of the region as well as at the national level.
According to the organisers, the entry for the tournament was done online for the first time. Apart from the competition, an open championship is also being organised for those who are from non-sports background in view of promoting the sport and its benefits to an array of work discipline, the organisers said.
Talking to EastMojo on the sidelines of the inaugural event, MRA president Moirangthem Rachandra Singh said that notwithstanding the difficulties and problems, especially insurgency issues in the state, the MRA has managed to produce some of the skilled shooters, both in state and national levels.
“Slowly with time, peace has prevailed in the region and setting up of more shooting clubs, the state will soon produce star shooters at international level as well,” he added.
On the other hand, while lamenting the deteriorated condition of the shooting venue, Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS) commissioner Bobby Waikhom, while speaking as a chief guest, said that there is a need for renovation and development. “The shooting range was developed with an aim to facilitate the 1999 National Games hosted by the state,” he added.
Despite the lack of world-class facilities in the state, young shooters like Kongba L Sharma and Talem, whose inspirations drew from a former world champion Abhinav Bindra, are eyeing for the top shots at the ongoing tournament and build career in shooting.
“I am participating in three categories such as 10 m air rifle, 50 m rifle prone and 50 m rifle three position. And I am aiming to win all the three gold and create history,” said Kongba L Sharma, a participant.