Bhopal all set for the grand opening ceremony of historic Shooting World Cup
Kolkata: Bhopal, the capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, is all set for a grand opening ceremony of a historic Shooting World Cup stage, the first ever to be held in India outside the national capital of New Delhi.
Competitions begin on Wednesday, with the men’s and women’s 10m Air Pistol finals scheduled on the very first day.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, chief minister, Madhya Pradesh, will be the chief guest at the ceremony, to be held at the Kushabhau Thakre International Convention Centre.
Luciano Rossi, president of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), who arrived at the city earlier on Monday, will be the guest of honour. Also present will be Yashodhara Raje Scindia, minister for Sports and Youth Welfare, Government of Madhya Pradesh, and Raninder Singh, president, of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI). The chief minister will virtually inaugurate the brand-new Finals Hall of the M.P. State Shooting Academy range, the venue of the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol Bhopal.
Speaking ahead of the historic occasion, Mr. Singh said, “It is indeed a historic occasion for the country. The range in Bhopal is truly world-class and I must commend the leadership of the chief minister as well as the effort put in by the minister for Sports and her entire team for making this day a reality. For the sport to grow further in the country, it was important that international events such as these were taken to different parts and Bhopal has shown the way. We look forward to a memorable world cup.”
Besides the inauguration of the Finals Hall, the opening ceremony will also witness the oath-taking ceremony as well as a performance of Mallakhamb, an indigenous martial art sport that is gaining popularity by the day. The chief minister will then host a dinner in honor of the ISSF president and his wife Laura Rossi.
Close to 200 shooters from 30 countries will be taking part in the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol Bhopal. Prominent names taking part will be the likes of Jean Quiquampoix, the reigning Olympic champion in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol, Rio Olympic champion in the event Christian Reitz of Germany, and reigning women’s air rifle world champion Alison Marie Weisz of the USA among others. India’s own reigning world champion in the men’s 10m Air Rifle, Rudrankksh Patil, will also be seen in action as will the two reigning Air Pistol world champions, Liu Jinyao and Lu Kaiman of China.
Unofficial practice at the M.P. Shooting Academy range was on full steam with countries like the USA, China, Germany, Denmark, Maldives, Mexico, Chinese Taipei, Romania, Denmark, and Saudi Arabia besides India, all testing the ranges on the day. Indian and China have fielded the largest contingents with both entering 37-shooters respectively. For India, 22 shooters will be vying for medals while the others will be playing for ranking points only.
The ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol Bhopal will see a total of 10 finals, all Olympic events, over five consecutive competition days.