NSSF and Sports Ministry join hands to bring up HPC

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 12:51 AM Jun 14 2021

The National Shooting Sport Association of Sri Lanka’s (NSSF) effort finally bore fruit when the Ministry of Sports assured its willingness to construct a muchneeded shooting range. 

The intended ‘national shooting range’ will be ideally located at a private property in Kohuwela, and will be erected adjoining the existing 4-lane electronic shooting facility set-up in early 2019. It will become the nerve centre for national and aspiring shooters, and provide a training facility meeting international standards. The project will commence soon after the country returns to its normal from the ongoing pandemic situation. 

Funds will be released by the Ministry of Sports after the NSSF provides the documented requirements according to the phases of the project. The Ministry of Sports has already spent almost Rs 10Million on architectural plans, BOQ’s and had called for tenders when the whole project came to a complete standstill. The NSSF also has spent nearly Rs 3Million from various funds saved and raised. 

The project comes as part of High-Performance Sports Development Programme initiated by the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council. The signing of agreement took place last week in the presence of Minister of Sports, Namal Rajapaksa, Coordinating Secretary to the Minister of Sports, Ronnie Ibrahim and National Sports Council Member Julian Bolling and other NSSF officials.

 The new national range, which will be the core site for shooters of all walks of lives, will include 10 fully functional air pistol and air rifle lanes with manual-target facilities, but the feature of this upcoming range will be its facilities. “The range will have air conditioning, lighting and even changing rooms and rest rooms for shooters. This is an overdue yet much looked-forward to project the fraternity of shooters was anticipating,” stated General Secretary Pradeep Edirisinghe.

 “The earlier range will remain as an elite centre for national shooters, while the upcoming facility will be a base for aspiring shooters. Once they reach the required standards, they can move from that range to the other,” Edirisinghe added, elated by the new development. 

The project is mainly initiated as a High-Performance Centre (HPC), in addition to a competition and training venue, and will have easy access to all shooters affiliated to NSSF. The main disciplines focused through this will be 10-metre Air Rifle and 10-metre Air Pistol. The project is the brainchild of President Shirantha Peries, who had made all possible attempts to secure a National Shooting Range, which is a compulsory requirement for a sport that has the potential of winning medals at international level.

 “This is a breakthrough we have been waiting to happen and we are indebted to the higher authorities who govern the sport in the country for making it possible,” stated the President. Representative of the Ministry of Sports, Gamini Costa, added: “Shooting sports has the potential of winning international medals, in particular at the South Asian Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. It’s good to see the current administration has made a good foundation of its shooters, who are finding it difficult to undergo training, as there’s no designated place for them to do their part, which is sad.” 

This will also mark as a first in the annals of NSSF with regard to a national range accessible to all shooters, with Sri Lanka’s topmost air rifle and air pistol shooting and training facility being located inside the Naval Range in Welisara, where access is highly reserved for limited numbers. The Ministry of Sports will help NSSF operate the range and will also provide the services of an expert foreign coach, who not only will sharpen the skills of national and aspiring shooters, but also of local coaches. NSSF’s priority international events would be the Emir Cup in Kuwait and the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup to be held in New Delhi, India later this month.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 12:51 AM Jun 14 2021

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