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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Shooting Friday, 14 June, 2002, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Gunning for glory
Double trap shooting
Aim and fire: Shooting is an exciting test of nerve
There is one word that sums up the target shooting events - variety.

There are 19 seperate disciplines at the Commonwealth Games in fullbore rifle, smallbore rifle, air rifles and pistols, and clay target shooting.

Men and women compete individually, in teams, and, uniquely at the Games, against each other on an equal footing in the fullbore rifle.

And each event offers a different test of mind and body.

The different disciplines

Clay target shooters use 12-bore shotguns to fire at flying discs fired from traps.

They need lightning-fast reactions to aim and fire once "pull" is called to launch the clay from any one of 15 places.

The single or double trap sees one or two clays launched simultaneously - and in the Olympic skeet you get a mixture of the two.

In the fullbore rifle, steel nerves and stamina are called for. Competitors fire 7.62mm rifles over varying distances over three days to get their final score.

Spent cartridges being ejected by a men's skeet shooter
Blast off: A men's skeet shooter reloads

They must fire a total of 81 rounds at distances between 300 and 1,000 yards, taking into account wind speed and direction, which they use wind flags to judge.

After firing they must check their success - or failure - with a telescope.

The smallbore rifle events are notable for their position disciplines, in which competitors must shoot from prone (lying down), kneeling or standing.

It's standing room only in the air rifle, which is aimed at 10m range using a .177 inch calibre gun.

And the pistol events - smallbore, centre fire and air - vary in the calibre of the pistol used, the distance from the target, and length of time to release the shot.

But the real beauty of most shooting sports is that so many of the competitors have a chance of winning.

Some, particularly the smallbore, are equivalent to the Grand National - lots of competitors with not much between them, meaning that up to half the field are in contention for medals.

The contenders

And most nations competing will have men or women who are in with a shout.

The home nations are tradionally strong, with the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man also among the contenders.

Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand also have fine traditions in the sport, but that does not guarantee success.

As host nation in 1998, Malaysia were determined to put on a good showing in all events - including shooting.

Despite there being no history of the sport in their country, a squad of sharp-shooters was picked from the army in 1994 and a top coach brought in from Canada to show them the way.

The end result was three medals which helped Malaysia to a record haul on home territory.

English entries, including Olympic double trap champion Richard Faulds, did not need such drastic action this year but they will be still be hoping medals are the end result.

All the shooting takes place at the National Shooting Centre in Bisley, Surrey, which has been given a makeover for the occasion.

Top-class new shooting ranges have been built as well as a new smallbore rifle and air rifle and air pistol complex.

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15 Jun 02 | Shooting
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