NSSF National Shooting Championship 2017 : Youngsters impress as Abeymanne, Fernando claim honours | Sunday Observer

NSSF National Shooting Championship 2017 : Youngsters impress as Abeymanne, Fernando claim honours

Champs Ruwini Abeymanne and Suranga Fernando
Champs Ruwini Abeymanne and Suranga Fernando

Young and aspiring shooters from schools impressed at the NSSF National Shooting Championship 2017 held at the Naval Shooting Range in Welisara. While renowned shooters Suranga Fernando and Ruwini Abeymanne pocketed three top categories, the young school-goers proved their might by claiming 15 positions in the top three including wins under four categories.

Olympian shooter Abeymanne, representing Cambrian Shooting Club, won the Women’s 10M Air Pistol and 25M Sport Pistol events while claiming the Mixed 10M Air Pistol event partnering with team mate Suranga Fernando. Abeymanne accumulated 368 points in the 10M Air Pistol event while in the 25M Air Pistol event she plucked in 548 points to claim the top spot.

Abeymanne was closely followed by Sri Lanka Police shooter E.M. Pabawathi, who missed out the 10M Air Pistol top spot by two points, while losing the 25M Air Pistol top position by a bigger margin of 20 points.

Fernando, meanwhile claimed wins in the Men’s 10M Air Pistol and 50M Free Pistol events in addition to the Mixed 10M Air Pistol event with Abeymanne. Representing Magnum Shooting Club, Fernando won the Men’s 10M Air Pistol event with 576 points, while representing Cambrian SC, he won the 50M Free Pistol event with 521 points.

On both occasions he had a close rivalry in Gamini Walgama of Sri Lanka Police, who was placed second twice. But Walgama had the consolation of gaining sweet revenge on Fernando in the Men’s 25M Standard Pistol event.

However the cynosure the eight-day long event were the shooters representing Sri Lanka Schools, who were on par with the much experienced shooters. While dominating the Youth and Junior category by winning three of its four events, as Akila Sithumina, Natasha Hendalage and Amandika Weerasinghe claimed the Men’s 10M Air Pistol, Women’s 10M Air Pistol and Women’s 10M Air Rifle respectively.

The school shooters claimed three of second and third positions while four shooters, two each in Men’s and Women’s category impressed in the main draw. Vidura Pieris and Sashika Perera, both competed in the Men’s 10M Air Rifle event and finished second and third respectively while W.A.Y.C. Dharmadasa topped the Women’s 10M Air Rifle event with Amandika Amarasinghe finishing at second.

“This is a good sign for the future of shooting sports in Sri Lanka. The shooters from schools have impressed this time around at the Nationals than the recent years. It will be a very good foundation in Sri Lanka’s quest for international medals, as we can be rest assure with the talent that the country has got,” stated Pradeep Edirisinghe, the General Secretary of National Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF) of Sri Lanka.

According to the NSSF apart from Point 22 Rifle events had to be called off on the request of the three armed forces -- the Army, Navy and Air Force -- due to shortage of ammunition.

As result the NSSF officials had been flexible enough to abort four events that come under the Point 22 Rifle category, as the three teams would face a disadvantage in the overall count.

However the three teams eventually failed to show up as the remaining teams in the shooting sports field made their presence felt.

A total of 13 events were be held under Rifle and Pistol categories of Junior and Youth, Men’s Open and Women’s Open. Even with the absence of three important teams, the NSSF National Shooting Championship 2017 had over 100 high profile shooters from clubs and schools.

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