Shooting: His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, the President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) addressed the opening ceremony of the 8th Asian Air Gun Championships on September 25 at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi, India.

After the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship is the first international shooting competition. A total of 180 athletes from 14 countries will compete in 12 men and women events over the five days of the championship.

According to a press release from the Office of the Royal Media, HRH during his opening speech said that as Asia is becoming the powerhouse of shooting in the world today, the Air Gun championship is an important event to athletes from the region to establish their place in the international front.

“Some of you have already won an opportunity to represent your country at the Rio Games, some still need to earn your place. The Olympics being the ultimate prize, I hope that the Asian Championship in November will give you the opportunity to earn your ticket for the Rio Games,” HRH said. “This Air Gun championship will give you an opportunity to fine-tune your skills and performance before that challenge.”

The championship is the last event on the Asian Shooting Confederations schedule before the Asian Shooting Competition in Kuwait later this year where shooters will try and win a quota for the Rio Olympics next year, stated the press release.

Thanking the National Rifle Association of India for inviting him as the guest of honor, HRH said that India and Bhutan share very strong ties historically. The last few years have seen the bonds grow closer not only between the governments but also in the field of sports.

The President of the National Rifle Association of India, Raninder Singh said the championship would serve as part of the ongoing preparations towards the Rio Olympics in 2016 for the athletes of the region.

The Indian Minister of Sports and Youth, Sarbananda Sonowal, officials from the Sports Authority of India, and the Asian Shooting Confederation, also attended the opening. Five men and a woman are representing Bhutan at the championship.

Younten Tshedup