'She is not able to shoot for quite some time. But it's definitely a big matter for us that she has joined us from the hospital, from her bed, so that she doesn't miss the online competition.'
An online shooting tournament, held in bedrooms and basements, brought some positivity and a smile on the face of a young national- level shooter undergoing treatment for cancer in a Kolkata hospital.
From her hospital bed, the ailing markswoman joined the proceedings in the second international online shooting championship through Zoom App, and expressed her delight at being part of an initiative that also resulted in a virtual post-match press conference.
"I am too glad to be here. I am missing shooting very much," she said smiling, as one of the competing shooters called her the real champion.
"It's a great opportunity to be with you all. Seeing you all I am feeling very happy," the shooter, who is undergoing chemotherpahy, added.
Former India shooter Shimon Sharif, the brainchild behind the novel initiative, welcomed the shooter along with Olympian Joydeep Karmakar.
Both Joydeep and Sharif were part of the commentary team for the tournament that aims to help shooters from several countries stay in touch with competition amid the lockdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
"She is not able to shoot for quite some time. But it's definitely a big matter for us that she has joined us from the hospital, from her bed, so that she doesn't miss the online competition. It's definitely a touching moment for us," said Joydeep, who missed a medal at the 2012 London Olympics by a whisker.
The shooting community prayed for a speedy recovery as she got involved in the championship as a 'special guest'.
The Indian shooters dominated the second edition of the competition with Sanjeev Rajput and Shahzar Rizvi winning the gold medals in their respective 10m air rifle and air pistol finals on Saturday.
Rajput, an Olympic quota holder in 50m Rifle 3 Positions, won in the 10m Air Rifle with a score of 252.6 to beat Austria's Martin Strempfl by 0.9 points in the 24-shot final.
"Enjoying the online contests. Perks of all the technological advancements helping in this time. Pleased to have ended on top with a good score," World Cup gold medallist Rajput tweeted after the event.
In the 10m Air Pistol, it was Rizvi who finished on top with a score of 241.7 ahead of 2017 World Cup Final bronze medallist Amanpreet Singh by a slender margin of 0.2.
Shooters participate in the championship by logging into the Zoom platform from their respective locations and shoot electronic targets set up in their houses, the screen for which is shared for the scores to be marked.
The competition was live-streamed on the internet and prominent Indian international coaches joined in through video chats.
"Once again grateful for the opportunity to compete in a virtual online championship (+ A final this time)," Scottish shooter Lucy Evans said.