Following a long break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Gulshan Shooting Range yesterday turned into a vibrant place in presence of shooters, officials, media personalities and spectators. Bangladesh shooting embraced a new experience by hosting an international online competition for the first time even though such competitions have been held before in other nations.
Enthusiasm among the shooters and officials could have gone in vain had Abdullah Hel Baki not clinched the country's only medal from this competition. The two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist finished third among five competitors with a score of 617.3, despite a below-par performance. Japan's Noaya Okada finished first with a score of 630.9 while Indian shooter Tuhsar Mane settled for second with a score of 623.8.
In women's event, Syeda Atkia Hasan Disha finished second from bottom among six shooters with a score 616.4. Indian world champion shooter Elavenil Valarivan, Japan's Shiori Hirata and Indonesia's Vidya Rafika became first, second and third with scores of 627.0, 622.6 and 621.1 respectively.
The online competition was expected to be a tough one for the Bangladeshi shooters, who were out of practice for seven months due to the pandemic coupled with a dispute between the former president of Bangladesh Shooting Sports Federation (BSSF) and the BSSF secretary general.
While shooting federations in other countries organised online competitions, turning shooters' living rooms into miniature shooting ranges, the Bangladeshi shooters were idle until the BSSF stalemate came to an end with the declaration of an ad-hoc committee last month.
"I've had a new feeling for shooting through this online competition and I am now looking forward to thinking about shooting again. I had almost forgotten the feeling because the last competition I participated in was in the South Asian Games in December last year," said Baki.
"I have been getting offers from June to compete in online competitions but there was not opportunity for me to take part due lack of support from the federation. But I must thank the federation now for arranging such a tournament. I got back my old rifle and participated in an international tournament after starting training a few days ago," said Baki.