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London 2012 Olympics qualifying: Shooting

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Faulds and Kerwood's guide to target shooting

How qualification works:

KEY DATES: SHOOTING
JULY 2010
Qualification began - one of first sports to begin - with World Championships in Munich, Germany
31 JULY-14 AUGUST 2011
European Championships in Belgrade, Serbia
27 AUGUST-5 SEPTEMBER 2011
World Shotgun Championships, also in Belgrade

There are 15 shooting events at London 2012 - nine for men and six for women - divided between the Olympic disciplines of rifle, pistol and shotgun shooting.

A total of 390 athletes are expected to take part in the Games, with each country able to send up to 28 entrants.

Shooting operates a system of Minimum Qualification Scores (MQS) which define whether a competitor can be entered for the Games or not.

Before attempting to qualify for London 2012, each Olympic hopeful must reach the MQS in their event at an official World Championship, Continental Championship, World Cup or Olympic qualification event.

Having achieved the MQS, qualification can be achieved at a number of world-class competitions, including: the 2010 World Championships (which were held in Munich); the 2011 World Championships (to be held in Belgrade, 27 August to 5 September); World Cup events in 2011; and continental championships held in 2010, 2011 or 2012.

The exact number of athletes qualifying in each discipline at each of these competitions varies according to the event and year.

Broadly speaking, the quota places are shared out as follows: several shooters from each discipline at the 2010 World Championships, one from each of the five events at the 2011 World Championships (which are for shotgun only), and the top two from each World Cup event in 2011, changing to the top three in air rifle and pistol competitions.

The number of places available at the continental qualifying competitions varies. In total, Europe will send 48 athletes this way, America 31, Asia 35, Australasia 18 and Africa 15.

It is important to remember that when an athlete earns a place at the Games, that place is awarded to the country, not the athlete themselves (though their national governing body may well award it back to them when their team is nominated).

Once nominated to represent their country, athletes may also be elected as "double starters". This means they can compete in more than one event (including those for which they did not directly qualify), provided that they have reached the MQS in each of those events, and that their inclusion in more than one event does not break quota rules per event, per country.

Following the conclusion of qualification, 24 invitational places may be issued by world governing body the ISSF.

Richard Faulds
Richard Faulds is looking over his shoulder at younger British rivals

How are British competitors doing?

As the hosts, there are nine places at the Games already reserved for British entrants - one in each of these events:

Men: 50m rifle 3 positions, 25m rapid fire pistol, 10m air pistol, trap, skeet

Women: 25m pistol, 10m air rifle, trap, skeet

British hopefuls for the remaining events will need to seek entry through the qualification procedure outlined above - Peter Wilson became the first GB marksman to gain a place this way, earning a quota place by winning silver at a World Cup event in March 2011.

The "double starters" rule explained above also applies here, so some members of GB team could enter several events having only qualified in one.

Some 75 British shooters have already reached the minimum qualification score in their disciplines, as of January 2011, and must wait for British Shooting to pick its team in 2012.

More competitions to watch out for are the 2011 European Championships (in Italy in March for 10m events, otherwise in Serbia from 31 July to 14 August) and the 2011 World Championships (in Serbia once again, later that month).



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London 2012 - begin your journey here
Use the links below to discover how athletes qualify in each Olympic sport, and how British hopefuls are doing

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