Shooting Para Sport requires athletes with physical impairments to show supreme accuracy and control in firing at static targets over distances of up to 50 metres.
Shooting Para Sport features Rifle and Pistol events. In both, competitors aim at a ringed target from a set distance of 10 metres, 25m or 50m. Depending on the event, athletes are required to shoot from a standing, kneeling or prone position. There are men's, women's and mixed events. The sport's name was changed from IPC Shooting to Shooting Para Sport in 2016.
Classes are not based on the degree of impairment but on whether the athlete is able to hold the gun with their upper limbs (hands or arms). The sport's two classes are SH1 (able to hold a gun with upper limbs) and SH2 (unable to hold a gun with upper limbs, so a stand is used).
The rules regarding the three shooting positions are adjusted for athletes with impairments. For example, a wheelchair or shooting chair position can be used instead of standing. Athletes who use a wheelchair may employ a sling on the non-trigger arm to bring the gun closer to them and improve stability.
In the kneeling position, an athlete shooting from a wheelchair or shooting chair, can rest the elbow of their non-trigger arm on a stand.
International Federation: World Shooting Para Sport
- R1 - 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 (Men)
- R7 - 50m Rifle 3 positions SH1 (Men)
- R2 - 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 (Women)
- R8 - 50m Rifle 3 positions SH1 (Women)
- R3 - 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 (Mixed)
- R4 - 10m Air Rifle Standing SH2 (Mixed)
- R5 - 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2 (Mixed)
- R6 - 50m Rifle Prone SH1 (Mixed)
- R9 - 50m Rifle Prone SH2 (Mixed)
- P1 - 10m Air Pistol SH1 (Men)
- P2 - 10m Air Pistol SH1 (Women)
- P3 - 25m Pistol SH1 (Mixed)
- P4 - 50m Pistol SH1 (Mixed)
Coping with pressure to reach the podium
Shooting has been part of the Paralympic Games since Toronto 1976, when three events were held. At one point, the number of events expanded to as many as 29 but after Sydney 2000 the size of the programme was consolidated to 12 events.
Tokyo 2020 will feature 13 events, nine Rifle and four Pistol. The new addition is mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH2. Until now the only SH2 events were standing and prone 10m Air Rifle; it is hoped that this extra event will widen participation among SH2 class athletes.
Targets have 10 concentric rings, and the ring at the centre of the 10m Air Pistol target has a diameter of just 0.05cm – the size of a full-stop on a printed page!
Rifle events use digital measurements to split each zone up into 10. Hitting the centre of the 10 ring gives the highest score of 10.9 points. It is not uncommon for medals to be decided by fractions of points.
Competitions can last from one to three hours, while some shooting ranges may be affected by wind strength and direction, and other climatic factors. Athletes must cope with all these variables, together with the intensity of the occasion, in the knowledge that a single inaccurate shot could end their chances of winning a medal. Athletes must also control their emotions, their breathing and their heartbeat – not easy in a Paralympic final with a gold medal at stake. Those who waver in nerve or concentration will finish with lower scores.
Seeking a new generation of Shooting stars
Athletes from more than 40 countries have competed at the last three Paralympic Games. Sweden and South Korea have historically been the most successful nations, while China proved particularly strong at Rio 2016. Zhang Cuiping won two gold medals and a silver in Rifle events to follow up her tally of six medals gained at the two previous Games.
Iran is another country that has enjoyed recent Shooting Para Sport success. Sareh Javanmardi won two Pistol events at Rio 2016 and was voted the International Paralympic Committee Athlete of the Month for September 2016 in recognition of her performance.
Why is the Men's 50m Rifle 3 Positions event sometimes called the ‘Rifle marathon’?Answer
A:Because the event involves shooting 40 shots in each of three positions – standing, kneeling and prone – to give a total of 120 shots. Shooting time lasts two hours 45 minutes, with the top-ranked participants then battling for medals in a one-hour final. The event gets its nickname from the degree of stamina and mental strength needed to compete.
- Asaka Shooting Range