Rare family of shooters have much to offer | Sunday Observer

Rare family of shooters have much to offer

13 October, 2019
The Odayar family: From left: Anishra, Bonita, Reza and Avishka
The Odayar family: From left: Anishra, Bonita, Reza and Avishka

It’s very rare to find a sporting family who excelled at national and international levels in that particular sport. The family members of Reza Odayar have become national champions in shooting.

Bonita Peiris Odayar, who is the General Manager and president of Travel Trade Sports Club said she took to shooting as a hobby but won many titles in the past. She hails from a sporting family. Her husband and children have also won national titles in this sport.

“Currently my children Anishra and Avishka are involving in shooting and they have achieved Colours at national level,” said Bonita in an interview with the Sunday Observer.

Her husband Reza is the founder and Managing Director of Sprout and hails from Kandy where he schooled at Trinity College.

At school he excelled in rugby, boxing and athletics and subsequently represented Kandy Sports Club and CR & FC. He also excelled in boxing at school. Motorsport is his other passion and has been a consistent winner in many super-bike class motorcycle events.

“He won the National League Championship in 2013 on his return after an absence of 13 years. Reza is also a national-level competition shooter representing Negombo Rifle Club and has become the Best Shooter many times,” recalled Bonita.

She also noted that it is very rare for civilian women to get involved in shooting as it is the women in the tri-forces who are indulging in the sport.

The three pillars in shooting are accuracy, speed and power and in this context, shooting is an activity that demands preparation, focus and discipline. Concurrently it is also a very relaxing and recreational sport. The fellow competitors are a very closely-knit group and they all know one another well.

Bonita has won several Championship titles at National meets and her husband became national champion in 2000, 2002 and 2004 and has participated in several local and international meets too.

Her son Avishka become a national junior champion in 2006 and participated in the Austral Asia International Practical Shooting Confederation Championship at the THPSA Shooting Range, Pattaya, Thailand. He was placed fourth-best among the Juniors (U-21) contested by 36 countries and was awarded Sri Lanka Practical Pistol Colours.

Bonita’s daughter Anishra become a national champion in 2011 and represented Sri Lanka at the Polmozbyt Plus – Polish Open Kaliber 2014 event which is an international shooting competition in the disciplines covering air-rifle and air-pistol in Poland.

“Due to our busy schedules, it’s quite a challenge to find free time for other matters.

But if we were to receive any request or invitation to share our experience and knowledge, we are ready to oblige,” said Bonita.

“Shooting is an Olympic sport and is recognized globally at the highest levels. If one is to excel at it, one has to acquire self-discipline, unrelenting perseverance and complete focus.

The concept of winning at any cost has superseded age-old conventions such as integrity, honesty, fair-play and doing the right thing. While winning and achieving champion status is important, achieving it at the expense of other human values such as honesty, integrity and fair-play erodes the essence of the spirit of sports.

“The famous saying “it matters not whether you win or lose, but how you played the game” is sadly lacking today,” she added.