Many in Pakistan, including Shahid Afridi the former Pakistani cricket star, came to support the sporting event, writes Shahid Raza
The championship known as the 2nd Muhammad Ali Jinnah Open Shooting Championship was held in the historic Pakistani city of Bahawalpur between the 5th and 18th of December – an occasion made unique by its vast offering of up to 27 matches in 7 different categories, with a special emphasis given to the youth, female participants and veterans of the sport beside regular professional shooters. The match categories including, T-Class, F-Class, mid-range rifle, small bore rifle, pistol and air rifle met international standards.
Pakistan’s largest competitive shooting championship
The championship was an event which drew competitive shooters from all across Pakistan and abroad. Shots from remote areas of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and cities such as Karachi came together to commission South Asia’s largest shooting range, located in the Cholistan desert in the Southern Punjab region of Pakistan.
The second Muhammad Ali Jinnah Open Shooting Championship will be held in the city of Bahawalpur in southern Punjab region from…
A shooting range with all modern amenities
The new 1500-meter-long range facility itself is a marvel of engineering and raised from the desert dunes. The shooting range is adequately equipped with all modern facilities, including digital target impact displays, CCTV jury aided monitoring, aerial surveillance, access roads, parking space and all other necessary civic and cultural amenities. The shooting range is the first of its kind in Pakistan which supports various matches starting from 25m pistol matches to firing points located at 100m, 300m, 600m, 800m, 1000m, 1200m and the 1500m extreme long range (ELR).
The championship drew almost 600 participants in 27 matches including, women, girls, boys, professional civilian shooters as well as contestants from various branches of the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the armed forces, creating a unique opportunity to share ideas and experience. The championship was widely reported in Pakistan to draw public interest, which created ripples across social media, with more and more young people expressing their interest in learning and competing in this sport.
The championship began with a co-ordination conference where all participants were invited for a formal orientation explaining the rules and regulations of the championship. The guests were provided with a thorough briefing, specifically on the match conditions and various appeal procedures. The author was present in the briefing and found it to be very robust and helpful. Participant queries were answered in a Q & A session.
The championship concluded on the 18th of December 2019, with a closing ceremony. The patron in chief of the 2nd MAJOSC-2019, Lt. General Syed Muhammad Adnan, Commander 31 Corps of the Pakistan army decorated the champions and runner-ups with medals, certificates and prizes.
The champions of the ELR, HTI matches were awarded trophies, while the champion of the tactical rifle matches was awarded the Cholistan Cup.
Promoting safe practices and wildlife conservation
Before formally closing the event, the patron in chief briefly spoke to the audience and expressed his desire to promote this sport in Pakistan as per international standards, with a vision to provide state of the art facilities to the youth in Pakistan to engage in sports shooting – as well as to promote safe practices and wildlife conservation by creating an alternative platform to combat illegal poaching of endangered flora and fauna of Pakistan. In order to promote the tourist landmarks of the city of Bahawalpur – the contestants were treated to a formal dinner held at the historic Noor Mahal Palace, a marvel of the 19th century architecture, built in 1875.