Seeing the interest generated by online tournaments, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) is planning to experiment with organising virtual competitions of its own in a world altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Former India shooter Shimon Sharif has organised a few online championships and a month-long league during the coronavirus-forced lockdown and according to him, it has attracted the attention of ISSF, which was left with no option but to cancel all the World Cup stages this year due to the pandemic.
“The Online Shooting Championship is becoming more and more popular among the shooters and stakeholders of our sport,” said Sharif, who is organising his next virtual tournament on October 3 and 4 in 10 air rifle and air pistol events. “Leading gun manufacturers are showing interest in online shooting. The online championship next month has got the support of Austrian gun manufacturer Steyr which has to it’s credit the maximum Olympic medals,” Sharif, who has represented India in the World Cup, said.
He added, “The concept has been noted and well appreciated by the shooting fraternity world over. Abhinav Bindra has told me that the ISSF is planning to launch their online competition.” During the tournament, the competitors are required to log in through the Zoom app from their respective locations and shoot using their Electronic Shooting Targets (EST).
“After successfully organising four editions of the Online Shooting Championship and a month long Online Shooting League in the last six months, I have realised that our sport has the potential to become an online sport in the future,” said Sharif, who also runs the portal indianshooting.com. The inaugural online championship has seen participation from established Indian shooters such as Sanjeev Rajput, Manu Bhaker and Abhishek Verma, as well as competitors from abroad.