Pakistan shooting body wants extensive camp for Olympics

Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, Gulfam Jospeh and Kishmala Talat have qualified for the Paris Olympics

January 27, 2024
Kishmala Talat in action. - Facebook/Kishmala Talat

LAHORE: Hoping for a breakthrough at the Paris Olympics, National Rifle Association of Pakistan (NRAP) plans to keep its Olympics-bound shooters consistently engaged in training and prepare them well for the world’s biggest event.

“Definitely we want to hold a long and uninterrupted camp to prepare the Olympics-bound shooters as a gap will be harmful,” senior NRAP official Razi Ahmed Khan told ‘The News’ in an interview.

Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, Gulfam Jospeh and Kishmala Talat have qualified for the Paris Olympics to be held in summer this year.

Three-time Olympian Khurram Inam, Usman Chand and Farrukh Nadeem also have a chance to press for Olympics slots in shotgun in the ISSF final Olympic Qualification Championship which will be held in Doha from April 19-29.

GM Bashir claimed bronze in the World Championship in Egypt in 2022 to qualify for the 25m rapid fire pistol. Gulfam also qualified in the same event in the 10m air pistol. Kishmala recently became the first woman athlete in Pakistan’s sports history to directly qualify for Olympics when she blasted her way into Paris Games in the 10m air pistol at the Asian Championship in Indonesia.

“We have two things. The one is that we have hired a foreign coach for those air pistol shooters who have qualified for the Paris Olympics,” Razi said.

“He (foreign coach) recently held a camp in Lahore and he will again hold a camp and we are considering when to hold the camp. We are working on how we can become medal contenders in the Olympics,” Razi said. “We had held a camp for shotgun shooters in Lahore, Jhelum and Karachi and we are starting the camp again. They will be training under their own personal coaches in these centres. They have the last chance to qualify. But the good thing is that the world’s leading contenders have almost earned quotas. They stand with a good chance in Doha World Cup if they prepare well,” Razi said, referring to Farukh, Usman and Khurram.

“We are sending more to the World Cup but we are focusing on three who have the chance to earn quota for Olympics,” Razi said.

Asked if Khurram can give a breakthrough despite his growing age, Razi said in shotgun shooting age does not count. “If you train well, have good reflexes and if you are experienced then you have the chance. But the issue is that he (Khurram) has not trained regularly for the last four months,” Razi said.

Asked about GM Bashir’s medal chance in the Olympics, Razi said that he is definitely a contender.

“He is a contender but it’s a difficult game and the event in which Bashir is featuring is very difficult,” he said.

“In four seconds you have to hit five different targets and it’s difficult to say who will win. Yes, he is a medal contender, has the experience and can perform and we are making effort to give him the best possible training,” Razi said.

He said that they will also send all those who have qualified for the Olympics to the Olympics test events. “Definitely they will be sent,” he said.

Alam Zeb Safi is a senior reporter for The News