Shooting as a test of skills began with archery, long before the advent of firearms. Formal target shooting was initially conducted for the military purpose using spears, bows and arrows. Over time, popularity of the sport grew across the globe that led to the conduct of First World Shooting Championships in 1897 in France. Soon after women’s events followed, first introduced at the 1958 Championships and today, World Championships for men and women in all disciplines are conducted every four years.
In the subtcontinent shooting was considered a royal game, played by the Maharajas of the princely states of India. After partition the game remained confined to a select few and elite. However, in the last five years it has started gaining popularity across the country. It is in efforts to give greater momentum to the increasing popularity of the sport in Pakistan that Muhammad Ali Jinnah Shooting Championship came about. First held in Quetta (2016) and later in Lahore (2017), the competition continues to draw premier talents of the sport. These earlier events were somewhat limited in conduct due to paucity of ranges available (maximum fire conducted at long range/1000 meters).
Now, a new firing platform which is a class by itself has been developed at Bahawalpur by Muhammad Ali Jinnah Field Sports Club. This will provide opportunity for firing at extreme long ranges (1200 and 1500 meters), giving participants a chance to test their skill at this range for the first time in Pakistan. Scheduled from December 3-18, 2019 the club is all geared up to hold the first ever championship allowing shooters to fire at ranges beyond 1000 meters. The event is planned to hold twenty-six different matches in varying categories/ranges.
The main goals of the event are:
• Encourage, promote and provide patronage to the sport of target shooting and competitive marksmanship.
• Facilitate and promote shooting sports in the country.
• Provide a platform where civilian shooters can test their skills along with military shooters and learn from each other’s experiences.
• Conserve wildlife.
• Provide a platform for Pakistani shooters to develop their skills and compete in international events.
Popularity of shooting sport is on the rise and development of such platforms will encourage hidden local potential and also attract international shooters. More so, development of this facility at Bahawalpur will also help promote Cholistan as a tourist destination.
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