After laying down the foundation for a comprehensive structural administration Shirantha Peiris, the President of the National Shooting Sports Federation of Sri Lanka (NSSF) and his team has managed to transform shooting sports in the country from stillborn status to beyond. The NSSF held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) recently where Peiris and his former [...]


NSSF gets four years to fulfil target


Shirantha Peiris and the NSSF expects to focus more on the youngsters and skill development

After laying down the foundation for a comprehensive structural administration Shirantha Peiris, the President of the National Shooting Sports Federation of Sri Lanka (NSSF) and his team has managed to transform shooting sports in the country from stillborn status to beyond. The NSSF held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) recently where Peiris and his former set of administrators, amounting to 15, were unanimously reelected for another term to serve shooting sport.

What differs from their last tenure will be the duration in office, which is extended for four years from the customary two, according to the new sports regulation of the Ministry of Sports. Peiris, a thorough believer in reality and achieving goals, was instrumental in shaping up many aspects of NSSF to transform it from a virtually inactive entity to an active and interest generating unit. He was glad that his entire team got an extension in office, where Peiris thinks will be an ideal period to put their intended plans on track and pass on the wand to another to run the show smoothly.

“I would say the past two years we were in the process of taking the NSSF into a new era and building interpersonal relationships between the council, its members and the other clubs. In doing so we also got some problems of ammunition and equipment shortages, which were sorted out promptly. Also we have been able to interact with the juniors and the youth in Sri Lanka, we managed to build up a close relationship with the Schools Association, and build and develop that part of the game. Now the youth and school section is a growing entity, it has shown great growth during the recent years in terms of quality and quantity. In less than two, more or less, we will see the youngsters taking up the mantel and at the same time the sport into the next level. That’s our intention too,” Peiris, an active shooter himself who intends to inspire the younger broods, told the Sunday Times.

One of the important ventures Peiris and his team set foot on during their last tenure was initiating a national shooting range, which was highly endorsed by the Ministry of Sports. The project kick-started midway in 2016 but with the change of portfolios in the top brass of the Ministry of Sports, the process has been brought back to square one, where the NSSF is now starting things all over again of their project of the national shooting range.

The NSSF managed to get a land allocated to them through the Ministry of Sports in Battaramulla and work began soon afterwards where Peiris revealed the facility would a gigantic step-forward for shooting sports, with the inclusion of 80 lanes and electronic targets. When the project competed it would also make way to the general public to try out, who will be give the exposure to try out shooting as a sport. But today the project at a standstill due to reasons beyond the control of NSSF.

Peiris, a practical man with a mission, made sure that stoppage should not affect the activities of the country’s shooters, mainly the budding and aspiring. Peiris has been generous to offer the top floor of the building where his business is run in Kohuwala with eight lanes, inclusive of four electronic targets.

“The national range project has currently being stalled due to ministerial procedure of tendering and evaluation of quotes. This has been a stumbling blockage to us. At present the youth and junior fraternity has reached to over 3000 shooters. We will need quite a big range with lots of lanes in it. To bridge up that gap we have built a temporary range with eight lanes and electronic target lanes on the top floor of the building where my business is run. I have given it all free of charge inclusive of electricity and other charges. We see a lot of juniors as well as seniors coming up with their coaches for practices on regular basis. The NSSF charges players Rs. 200 each for the usage of the lane, that income totally goes to the NSSF,” he revealed.

The NSSF’s long term aim is to develop the standard of its shooters, and to make it a practical exercise the current officials have implemented a fair and reasonable selection process where the talented and in-form shooters has to reach the minimum qualifying standards to appear at international events. They are focusing more on the junior squads, keeping their aim on 2020 Olympics. Despite other setbacks, matters such as legal battles, have affected their progress during the past two years, Peiris is affirm that responsibilities have drafted to relevant officials, so that those who could contribute towards the development of the sport, would put their total focus on it. The NSSF in the meantime managed to build up a healthy relationship with the armed forces, who were up against civilians running shooting sports when Peiris took office in 2015.

What Peiris intends to develop is something similar to this

“We have complete corporation from the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Police. So we have absolute no problem with them, in fact they are also waiting for the national range to come out, so their shooters will also benefit from it in whole,” Peiris stated.

Among the new portions of their latest manifesto, Peiris stated that the first task will be to appoint national coaches. For this the NSSF is planning to seek help from the Ministry of Sports to compulsorily allocate budgets for two national coaches. For an association with less spotlight among the corporate world, who thinks shooting is a sport not worth investing on, Peiris plans to turn the tides with new ventures that are beyond reach though. But he is willful as his team at NSSF.

“Financially we have been generating funds from the meets we had, and also we received some from the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee. All these funds were used purely for shooting, nothing out of it was used for making inbound or outbound travelling. It’s a policy we adopted from the beginning, to put the sport in front that individuals. Those things make the difference. We will continue to do that in the future too.”

“It’s important to draw in sponsors, it’s something that even the ISSF is keen to see. ISSF (International Shooting Sports Federation) shooting has been already identified as one of the 15 sports that could bring glory to Sri Lanka internationally. The fact that there are 3000 schoolchildren is a real testimony to the growth of the sport. For anyone who is keen to come forward as sponsors, that’s something that they can look at. We haven’t approached to any potential sponsor so far. But we will work our way towards opening those eyes, who consider shooting is just shooting. Changing bad impressions on a sport is as important as developing it. We believe that action should speak louder than words,” Peiris lastly said.

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