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Aug 19 2023

Shak Siyya invites everybody to come to Shooting Para Sport

If you have come to Rotterdam Ahoy this week and watched some of the Shooting Para Sport finals   you will have heard his voice, and if you are new to the sport his explanations definitely will have helped you understand and follow the event. Shak Siyya from London is here at the European Para Championships announcing all the finals and awards ceremonies for Shooting Para Sport, playing an important part in the organization of the sport and the experience of spectators. 

Shak sees two sides to his job. The first one is with the audience: “Shooting is still a small sport, a lot of people who watch it will be new to it, so they will always need an introduction and explanation. I’m never shy to interact with the audience and, also play around a little bit while trying to educate them and introduce them to the specifics of the sport.”

The second part is with the athletes. Shak is now quite well recognised by many of the athletes in both the Olympic and Paralympic events and says “I’ve built a really nice rapport with all of the athletes, from many, many countries. I like that because athletes are always open to me and I can make little jokes with them rather than always being serious for the audience. So that brings a bit of entertainment. I see myself as a bridge between the audience and the athletes. I try to make the sport more inclusive for everyone and hopefully make it a welcoming environment for everyone involved.”

When asked about how he prepares before a final, Shak says “I basically refresh myself on the statistics of the athletes who are appearing in the final, it doesn’t take too long. I know the sport and athletes well and I’ve got a good memory for data and numbers and statistics so I kind of combine that with a little bit of refreshing and that sets me up for the final. Once the final starts it goes quite quickly and you don’t want to spend too much time commentating.”

One of the remarkable moments so far in Rotterdam for Shak has been the final of the R3 – Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 won by Slovakian shooter Veronika Vadovicova. “Last night the gold medallist broke the world record, her own world record, which she had shot less than a year ago. When I get to announce big moments for athletes that I know personally, I think that brings me and the athletes even closer together. Little moments like that, add an extra level of special feeling to it.”

About what the athletes aim at in Shooting Para Sport, Shak reminds us that “what we see is an illuminated white square with a black circle in it and it looks to us like the black circle is quite big. But to hit the centre of it, to get the highest score it is actually a diameter of 0.5 millimetres. So you’re talking about trying to hit the sharp point of a pin to get the highest score!”

Shak invites spectators who haven’t been yet to come and watch the Shooting Para Sport in Ahoy. “I think it’s interesting to see something new and different and probably something that they haven’t experienced before. I would just encourage them to try it and hopefully they’ll get more out of it than just watching the sport. They’ll feel like they just had a good time.  I place a lot of value on the audience and the interaction with them.”

Although Shak has a background as a radio presenter, he started announcing in Shooting Sport by accident. One of his friends who he did a radio show with on a little community station was a volunteer announcer at the London Olympics and then got hired by the international federation to work at some of their events. When that friend could no longer commit for 2014, he asked if Shak wanted to try something different. Shak travelled to his first event in April 2014 in the USA and has not stopped since. His biggest events include the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, as well as the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. His next event will be the Pan American and Para Pan American Games later this year in Santiago, Chile.

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