Promising Results From Rifle & Pistol
The 35th edition of the first GP of the European Airgun calendar for GBR opened on the 14th December, with three competitions shot over three days.
A sizable team of shooters from the UK attended including many of the WCP athletes qualifying and preparing for the European Airgun Championships in February 2018.
This was the first international competition shot under recently announced ISSF Rules with Women and Men now shooting the same 60 shot course of fire. How would the results between Men and Women compare in these events?
Day one saw Kristian Callaghan go into the final in the Menís Pistol event dominated by a world class team from UKR. In the Junior men event James Millar (SERPS) went into the Final in the lead and finished sixth along with Tom Whyte-Venables who came second with a solid Final performance. In the Womenís event Jess Liddon (SCO) made the Final from UKR finishing in fifth place against strong experienced shooters from SUI and UKR. Another Project Pistol athlete Sammy Darling (ESSU) made the Final in the Junior Womenís event tantalisingly missing a medal to finish 4th.
Day one of Rifle saw Jack Bale (GBR) make the final finishing in seventh place. In the Junior Men event, both Dean Bale and Cameron Pirouet (GBR) made the Final, Dean winning and setting a new GBR Final record of 249.0 points, an excellent effort in what was his last competition as a junior. Not to be outdone, the Women immediately showed they are considered the best standing Air Rifle shooters in the world. Both Seonaid scoring an excellent 626.1 and Jen McIntosh (GBR) making the Final to finish in sixth and fourth places respectively. This event was dominated on all three days by a young SUI shooter, Nina Christen.
Jack Bale again made the menís Rifle Final again finishing in 7th place. Dean and Cameron again also made the junior Final, Dean losing out on another gold medal by only 0.2 points.
The women continued to shine with some powerful shooting including Jen McIntosh scoring 625.8 points and she went on to shot well in the Final to medal in third place behind Christen (SUI) who scored 252.5 over 2 points more than the current world Final record to win and averaging 10.56 /shot.
In the menís pistol event UKR continued to dominate. James and Tom again did well to make the Final in the junior menís event with James making the podium in third place. In the junior womenís event, Sammy Darling again made the Final finishing in fourth place. In the pistol womenís event it is clear that, unlike Rifle, women are not yet scoring on a par with the men although in time the gap will surely close?
This was again the traditional ĎIbis Cupí competition opening with the Womenís pistol events Ė Sammy starring to win in a tense and close Final in the Junior Womenís event and shooting an excellent series of competitions for a young shooter of whom we shall see an lot more in the future. In the junior menís event James and Tom again made the final shooting consistently through the week with James finishing second in another close finale.
In the rifle events, dominated all week by Germany and Switzerland Dean made the Final in the junior menís event finishing second missing out on another gold on the last shot! An excellent week for Dean.
In the womenís rifle vent, Seonaid missed out on the final by the narrowest of margins with Jen going through to finish in sixth place. The score of this competition undoubtedly shot by another young Swiss shooter Julia Oberholzer who not only shot 600/600 in old integer scoring but posted the first 630+ score at this level shooting 54 inner 10ís on the way. Fabulous shooting although she did not go on to win the Final that was won by a young German scoring an impressive 250.0 points.
Apart from the headline scores it was good to see some young UK shooters starting to emerge with several competition personal bestís and other milestone performances. 2018 promises to be an exciting year for our pistol and rifle shooters with the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games Ė good shooting to all in 2018!