Friday, June 22, 2007

SHOOTING: Two opposite ends of a spectrum

For the first time i managed to catch two world cups one week after another, I was at the rifle/pistol world cup in Munich followed by the shotgun world cup in Lonato, and was amazed at the difference between the two.... especially since they both fall under the "shooting" banner which is somewhat misleading.
Ofcourse the rifle/pistol guys told me that it's (shotgun) is a different world in their words they are the "royalty" and the rifle guys are the paupers, but i dismissed them since i had been to both venues (sometimes in the same day) at the Doha Games and even though they are different events didn't quite grasp the differences....

Right from the start everything is different...
I arrived to the range in a taxi (all of which are mercedes') and in the parking lot:
In Munich (Air rifle): you see a plethora of campers where the shooters are staying and my
taxi is one of the best cars there.
In Lonato (Shotgun): the taxi seems like an ambassador and a BMW is probably one of the
lower end cars there. The parking lot is dotted with customized buses (the kind the stars
have, which are pimped out with couches etc) which also double up as a repair center for
the equipment.

You walk in and:
In Munich (Air Rifle): There is pin drop silence with people huddled around the main score-
board but no one really saying much. They are all poker faced and staring at the board
which makes you wonder what they are really thinking.
In Lonato (Shotgun): It is like walking into the tokyo fish market at 4am, everyone is still
huddled around the main score board (a similarity!!!) but there is serious chatter. All the
various combination permutations are being discussed, there is chatter, laughter, and
emotion is actually being displayed.

The event:
In Munich: You are in an enclosed space that is usually freezing with weird lighting and as I
said earlier you have to leave your voice box outside. Every one is stoically standing
behind their shooters and its impossible to see if they are happy or sad. It is like you are at a silent auction where you can't read anyone's mind.
In Lonato: It is in the open air and even though it was overcast it felt like a carnival. Everyone
is eating, drinking most importantly talking. There are people walking around all over the
place. Everyone is just hanging out and oh yeah there is also shooting going on which they
are following.

The athletes:
In Munich: Everyone is pretty much by themselves. I used to think twice before even saying
hello to someone. Even after the event everyone says the courteous hello but in the restaur-
ant everyone is scattered around eating by themselves. The athletes are all trying to avoid
everyone so they won't have to even say the hello.
In Lonato: The carnival theme continues. Everyone brings food, drinks and sets it out on a
table which is shared by everyone. They come in between rounds chat with others eat some
snacks and discussing the different scores and performances.

Ofcourse i am a lay person and don't know much so i hope i haven't offended anyone. The shotgun world is for people who are obsessed with guns, hunting and the sound of the gun doesn't make you wince.
The airrifle is for people who aren't really obsessed with guns and people who just don't like to talk to anyone for long durations of time :)


kamesh said...

Good comparison. Hope there is a second part on how the competition went and how our chaps have been able to stand up and fight the world. Cheers, Kamesh

Manisha Malhotra said...

yup will be... just waiting for slovenia to happen