Great Britain earned 12 places at London 2012, a massive increase on the four athletes that went to Beijing.
GB earned the maximum five direct slots through performances at major competitions from Paralympians Matt Skelhon, Nathan Milgate, James Bevis, Deanna Coates and Karen Butler. Six slots were achieved through 23 athletes shooting two or more Minimum Qualifying Scores in international competition, with one bipartite place also awarded.
With 12 places in the squad, selectors were able to ensure seven athletes made their Paralympic debuts giving the squad a great blend of experience and exciting new talent that will stand them in good stead for Rio.
A legend in the sport, eight time medallist Deanna Coates competed at her eighth Paralympic Games and her second on home soil having shot at Stoke Mandeville in 1984, although she missed out on a place in the final.
Great Britain won three medals at London 2012, including the a first Paralympic medal for James Bevis. He won bronze in the R5 10m Air Rifle Prone mixed SH2, missing silver by just 0.1 of a point after a dramatic sudden-death shoot off with Raphael Voltz of France.
Matt Skelhon could not defend his R3 10 metre prone air rifle title that he won in Beijing, but he did win silver in the event, and he added to his haul with a bronze in the R6 50m Rifle Prone mixed SH1.
- First time at a Paralympic Games:
- Toronto 1976
- Brief history:
- The events in Paralympic Shooting mirror the Olympic Target Shooting programme, with the addition of prone events in air rifle. Since 1996 the classification system has been functional ability rather than impairment orientated.
- Impairment groups eligible:
- All physical impairment groups, no athletes with visual impairments
- London medal table:
- 1 - China (four gold, one silver, three bronze)
2 - Korea (three gold, zero silver, one bronze)
3 - France (one gold, one silver, zero bronze)
9 - Great Britain (one silver, two bronze)
- GB medals in London:
- Matt Skelhon, silver, R3 10m Air Rifle Prone mixed SH1
Matt Skelhon, bronze, R6 50m Rifle Prone mixed SH1
James Bevis, bronze, R5 10m Air Rifle Prone mixed SH2
- Did you know:
- London was Di Coates’ eighth Games
- London 2012 venue:
- Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich
- Rio 2016 venue:
- National Shooting Centre (Deodoro Zone)
In the ultimate test of accuracy and skill, competitors attempt to place a series of shots as close as possible to the centre of a target.
The target consists of 10 concentric scoring rings, with the central ring worth 10 points and the outside ring worth one. Targets vary in size depending on the event. In the 10m Air Rifle event the whole target is 4.5cm in diameter and the central ring is just half a millimetre across.
Events are held in both Pistol and Rifle shooting. Air weapons are shot over 10m and .22 calibre weapons over 50m. There is also a 25m Pistol event.
In Rifle there are events in both standing and prone positions. In prone events the athlete can rest their elbows on a table to give added stability, whilst in standing they must shoot in an unsupported position. There is an additional kneeling position in the three position 50m Rifle events.
Of the 12 Paralympic Shooting events, six are mixed - open to men and women - while there are three competitions for men and a further three for women. In each event each competitor takes a specified number of shots at the target in a set time period - 40 shots in women’s Air Pistol and Rifle, 120 in men’s three position and 60 in the remaining events.
After the qualification round the eight top scoring athletes go through to a 10 shot final. The shots in the final are scored to one decimal place, with a top score of 10.9. These are added onto the qualification score to determine the winner.
Shooting uses a classification system which enables athletes from different impairment groups with the same level of functional ability to compete together. They are divided into two classifications as follows:
SH1: Pistol and Rifle competitors that do not require a shooting stand.
SH2: Rifle competitors who are not able to support the weight of the firearm with their arms and therefore require a spring mounted stand to shoot.
There are 10 events for SH1 athletes and two for SH2 shooters.