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On November 15, MAKE A MARK, together with the Abhinav Bindra Foundation and the World Archery Excellence Centre, participated in a virtual invitational tournament. 

Shooters from the Elite Shooting academy in Bangalore participated in the “Elite Shooting Academy Invitational”. These athletes are coached by Rakesh Manpat, a prominent coach in the Indian Shooting Community. 

With all athletes unable to compete in competitions for the foreseeable future, the tournament was suggested as a great way to have athletes compete in a more formal setting, and with a little bit of pressure from the friendly competition.

16 shooters from India, including the likes of Olympians Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul participated, as well as the 3 refugee shooters based in Lausanne. Other athletes also included upcoming shooters such as Pratik Borse and Meghana Sajjanar. 

The qualification round saw 60 shots, where Khaoula, the pick of the Lausanne athletes, shot a total score of 613.7. Ayonika Paul was first in the qualifications with a score of 629.8. After a short interaction with Niccolo Campriani, Abhinav Bindra, and the athletes, the final round of 24 shots began. 3 Lausanne athletes and the top 5 athletes from the Elite shooting Academy participated in this round.

While the Lausanne athletes put up a great fight, they, unfortunately, did not make it into the top 3. A strongly contested competition saw Patrik Borse win the finals with a score of 247.4, closely followed by Ayonika, who had a score of 247. 

“ In the WAEC, we are excited about this refugee project. We support any new initiative Nicco and his team have to provide more opportunities to Luna, Mahdi, and Khaoula to grow and get closer to their goals. Under the current COVID period and its challenges for sports, when competitions are canceled all over the World, online-live competition is an excellent solution to provide competitive experiences to athletes. It helps to maintain motivation in their daily training, and gain experiences that they surely will transfer later on, in face-to-face competitions, whenever that is a reality again. World Archery has organized events like this with a lot of success among its members and top-level archers. It is time for our air rifle shooters to do the same in our facilities”, Juan Carlos Holgado, Director of the WAEC, said.

The relationship between the Indian athletes and the refugee athletes is growing with this being the second time they have had a chance to compete with each other in a friendly competition. As we wait and hope for the global situation to improve, we can look to have more friendlies in the future, training for Excellence ahead, be it Tokyo or beyond!