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Article 2 – 2013

person aiming shotgun at target range

Question: I have read about changes in clay target shooting rules to for events like the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Can you explain these and offer an opinion.

Paul Harris, Ararat VIC


Answer: On January 1st, 2013 the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) decided to radically change the way the “finals” in all clay target events will be contested after the qualification rounds have been completed. This is for all events conducted under ISSF rules from club level to Olympic Games. For example in the Men’s Olympic Trap competition the previous event was conducted with five rounds of qualifying over two days (125 targets). The top six competitors then shot a further 25 targets (single barrel only) to determine the winner. The finals score and qualification score were added together to give a possible total score of 150. The new rules have the qualification rounds conducted for the most part in the same way, but instead of the top six competitors shooting a further 25 targets and having a total aggregate of 150 the leading half dozen will now shoot a further 15 targets. From this point the qualification scores are eliminated and the top six start the “semi final” at zero. From this 15 targets the top two scores will shoot a further 15 shots single barrel (again starting at zero) to decide the gold and silver medal. This one on one contest is refereed to as a “duel”. The third and fourth highest scores from the 15 target semi final will also shoot at a further 15 target duel to determine the bronze medallist.

In the Skeet event qualification remains the same although the sequence of shooting through the eight stations have changed and the target distance has been increased by 2 metres. The semi finals in Skeet are only shot as Doubles off stations 3,4 and 5, eight pair in total with a “reverse pair off stations three and five. This means that on station three the low tower must be shot first followed by the high tower. The opposite applies on station 5.

Double Trap has the most radical changes with the qualification series consisting of five rounds of 15 pairs, but the three applicable Double Trap settings will now all be thrown entirely randomly so the competitor has no idea exactly what two targets of the three possible targets will be thrown. Off each of the 5 stations a competitor must received one of each of the three pre-designated schemes. The random delayed release has been eliminated so the targets will now be thrown on the call of the shooter.

All of these changes have been made for one reason. The ISSF want to make the event more exciting to watch, particularly on television during the Olympic Games. The ISSF long ago identified that shooting was not the most spectator friendly event and this head to head battle for medals over a short period of time will obviously make it a better event for the general public. The 25 target “final” that was previously contested was a move in the right direction, but it often took more than 30 minutes to conduct and in many cases a huge lead can be built up by a competitor so the excitement value was diminished. In the new 15 target “duel” no carry over score will be possible so a close, fast contest will be assured.

My opinion as a shooter is that it is simply a change of attitude that is needed. We have come from a culture that has expected that the qualifying rounds will benefit us going into the final round. It doesn’t in sports like Swimming or Athletics so I guess the examples are already there. If it helps people watch it on television and ultimately then saves the Shooting sports from being abolished from the Olympic Games then I believe it will be beneficial.

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