Other Sports

Indians are on par with the best: Suma Shirur

Suma Shirur (right) with husband Sidharth at the launch of the Lakshya Cup.

Suma Shirur (right) with husband Sidharth at the launch of the Lakshya Cup.  

‘Need to be in competition mode for results’

Shooting took a step towards eliminating gender discrimination with the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), the sport’s world body, stipulating that male and female competitors fire 60 shots each.

The new rule, a change from the 60 for men and 40 for women, will be put into effect from 2018. Mixed events, pairing men and women shooters together, were also introduced worldwide to make the sport more popular.

Twenty top Indian shooters will get to experience the change at an invitation competition organised by Lakshya Shooting Club (LSC), founded by Olympic shooter Suma Shirur.

“The Lakshya Cup 2017 will be held under the ISSF 60-shot rule for men and women. The nation’s leading shooters, invited for the event on Saturday, will gain experience before the rule comes into force. Two selection trials are scheduled next year by the federation, so I feel this opportunity will help them perform better,” Suma, a 10m air rifle finalist in her Olympic debut (2004, Athens), said.

“Indians are on par with the best. Our talented shooters need to be in competition mode as much as possible for results.”

Suma said: “I am happy the world body is moving towards gender equality. Women can certainly compete on par with the men, given a level playing field. I would joke that the ISSF were worried about women outperforming men if allowed to shoot equal attempts.”

The Lakshya Cup 2017 will be held at the word-class Karnala Sports Academy range where the LSC is based, using electronic targets. “Ten years ago, Lakshya trainees had an internal year-end competition, when all shooters, male or females fired equal shots. We also staged mixed events to attract interest towards shooting.”

The Lakshya Cup 2017, powered by the RR Group, will also have mixed events. “The best male and female shooters will compete against each other,” pointed out Suma. “India is so good at this sport, success is all about finding more and more youngsters and providing them an opportunity to participate.”

She focused on the need for money in the sport. “It is the only sport where you are always spending more than you get. Even for those winning medals at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, the cash incentives is only reimbursement for money spent from their own pocket for years. This situation needs to change and a shooting league will help bring in more sponsorship money. Otherwise, how long can a family support a shooter?”

The LSC-organised event will have prize money in various categories and is dedicated to coach Sanjay Chakraverty, a Dronacharya awardee, and mentor to world-class shooters Suma, Anjali Bhagwat, Gagan Narang, and Deepali Deshpande, to name a few.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 1:50:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/indians-are-on-par-with-the-best-suma-shirur/article22319883.ece

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