15 June 2021

London 2012: Bluffer’s guide to shooting

July 13, 2012

Shooting is a sport that challenges mental robustness rather than physical strength or stamina.

Getting your breathing right can be a big help and holding your breath as you release the trigger will reduce the movement of the gun and make your shot more accurate.

Likewise, squeezing the trigger gently rather than jerking it will make your aim more precise.

Excellent eyesight is the shooter’s best asset, so they wear glasses which not only protect their eyes from debris but also enhance their vision by highlighting a target and contrasting everything else around it.

Many of the Olympic competitors will wear different coloured glasses, the shade depending on the weather conditions.

Venue: Royal Artillery Barracks

Date: July 28 – August 6

Jargon buster

Firing line: Competitors position themselves here to shoot their targets.

Clay shooting: Clay thrown into the air by a trap machine are the targets.

String: A series of shots – usually five or ten.

Lost: A missed shotgun target.

Three positions: Rifle events that require competitors to shoot in the prone, standing and kneeling positions at a distance of 50m.

Basic rules

The events in shooting are all competed individually and are separated into three disciplines; rifle, pistol and shotgun.

In each of these disciplines there are five events (two for women and three for men) and they require the shooters to adopt different positions when performing; standing, kneeling or prone – where they lie on their fronts.

The rules vary according to the discipline, with distance, types of target, arm, firing position, number of shots and the time within which the shots have to be fired, all being factors.

In order to score points in the shotgun discipline the shooters have to hit a moving target called a ‘clay’, which is made of pitch and chalk.

A hit is officially recognized by the referee when the target is shot and at least one visible piece is seen to fall from it. The winner of this discipline is the athlete who hits the most targets.

In the rifle and pistol events the target that needs to be hit is a stationary ten ring target from a set distance of either 10m, 25m or 50m. The ring is divided into various areas that give a different amount of points.

The game begins in a qualification round where the best eight shooters qualify as a result of them being the highest scoring, and move to the final round where the ten rings of the target are subdivided into ten different “decimal” score zones.

The athletes final score of this round is then added to their qualification score to make up the total score and final ranking.

The winner of the rifle and pistol events is the shooter with the overall highest score.

One to watch

GB’s Elena Allen in the skeet event. She came second at the 2005 European Championship and won the World Cup in the same year, setting a world record in the process.

She also took double gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Championships, before winning the Grand Prix in Cyprus.

Olympic rivalry?

Chiara Cainero of Italy is Elena’s biggest threat. This will be her third Olympic Games and she won gold in the skeet at Beijing.

Who’s the gold medal favourite?

Overall is will be China in each of the events. They were top of the medal table at Beijing, winning five golds out of their eight medals.

Who to follow on twitter…

@GorgsGeikie – GB’s Georgina Geikie


Shooting Olympic fact

In the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, there were just three events, since then it has grown to a massive 15 events at London 2012, where 390 athletes from 103 countries will take part.

And men and women have only been competing in separate events since 1996. For 28 years between 1968 and 1996, they competed alongside each other.

The Women’s Sports Magazine


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