‘Are your ready? Standby!’ The adrenalin rush that competitive shooting offers is drawing more people to the sport – more men of course … and surprisingly women and even children are also taking up guns in droves. And amongst them is a Filipino father and son team who have emerged as hotshots on the New Zealand shooting scene.
AUCKLAND – Picture this on a typical Saturday morning: Mum takes the girls for basketball practice. Dad and the boys make a beeline for the sports field to play soccer.
Now look at this alternative scenario in the Maligro household: Mum is on her way to play badminton with the North Harbour Masters team. Whilst father and son unlock the safe, get the pistols out and head to the Auckland Pistol Club in Manurewa to defend their top rankings in ‘practical’ shooting.
“I started shooting when I was back in the Philippines, as my Dad was an enthusiast,” explains Ramel Maligro. “I guess Filipinos are really fond of guns for self defense and target practice or competitive shooting.”
When the Maligros moved to New Zealand in 1996 Ramel joined a pistol club and later his son decided that “guns are cool” and joined him – taking the love of this sport to a third generation.
“This sport really gives you an adrenalin rush. It’s different from standing in one place and shooting at objects to test your accuracy. In ‘practical shooting’ you are using pistols of 9mm caliber or higher and are facing various scenarios, like running into a house with surprise targets. As you are shooting and reloading as you run around the thrills are heightened.”
Over the years, by competing in their club’s internal competitions, Ramel, 44, and his 15-year-old son Joseph, have steadily moved up in the rankings.
Joseph is the top junior in New Zealand, having reached the A Grade. “Hopefully he will go on to the Master Grade this year,” says Ramel with his fingers crossed. “Then it’s going to be a New Zealand record – the youngest master in this country. Joseph is also the first New Zealand junior to be selected for the world shoot.”
Joseph has been shooting with his Dad since he was 12. His long-term goal is to move to Florida to complete his studies there and at the same time to develop his shooting skills in the USA.
Ramel, by the way, is a Grand Master. “The qualification process involved in reaching this pinnacle is a gruelling test of your skills,” he says. He has been participating in various overseas competitions, including the IPSC World Shoot 2014 in Florida last month.
According to him there are not many Pinoys shooting at the moment. At some stage he will be willing to coach kababayan who are keen to learn the sport.
What’s down the road ahead? The pair are looking forward to going to Rotorua for the national championships later this month. Next stop Australia, Malaysia, France and Florida, if sponsorship funds become available. So it’s all go!
By Sheila Mariano