Sweden: 1500 World Championships
In 1997 the government of the day banned pistols from target shooters in this country, making it difficult if not impossible for many of them to compete in international competition. Eighteen years on with a lot of help from the organiser of this year’s competition 26 Brits made the trip to Stockholm.
It must have been a logistics nightmare squadding them for the matches with a very limited number of pistols available. Thanks to them for all their hard work, the range complex was good and all the RO’s and staff made it a very enjoyable trip.
Prone shooting with Pistol
The NRA gave the tour ‘hands across the water’ status with the intention of reforming an official team and appropriate status in the future. The world 1500 championships are held every 2 years, with the European championships in between. Twenty six brits made the trip, hoping to make the England or Great Britain teams for pistol or revolver. Of those traveling only a handful had shot these before the ban in 1997, the rest either trained with LBR’s and LBP’s and brief trips to Germany to train with ‘proper pistols’. For all except five it was their first taste of international competition, an eye opener especially for those who eventually put on the GB or England shirt and represented the respective country.
Andy Wiggins checks clear his pistol
The first couple of days shooting were for people to work the way through their individual matches, the weather was kind, the shooting for most good so there was a lot of happy, smiling people. The Swedes make use of technology, no ‘wailing wall’ just some laptops logged so you can keep up with the scores and via CCTV cameras have a look round and see what is happening from the comfort of the café.
On the Saturday at high noon we trooped out for the international match, a 1500 match 5 for revolver and pistol, the revolver team Neil Jones and Pete Watts and Neil Jones and Morne Van Dalen looking after the pistol side of things. Each country was allocated a firing point, now was the time for nerves to show! Behind each point was a scoreboard and large grandstand for those not shooting to show their appreciation of the shooters efforts as the match progressed.
Michael Axel, CRO for the match did a good job, updating the scores, keeping the audience interested, and the pressure on the shooters. Both GB teams did a good job of supporting each other and the newcomers to international shooting, I am sure breathed a sigh of relief it was over and they had not disgraced themselves or country. With a bit more practice the teams should soon be challenging the top three!
Once the international was over it was back to individual competitions or the bar to take refreshment, and talk to the members of the other teams.
Neil Jones and Morné van Dalen compete for GB
After a social evening put on by the hosts for all the shooters to get to know each other over some food and drink, the last days shooting arrived. Some spent time looking at computer screen to see what they needed to achieve for a medal, some getting ammunition and guns ready for the final fling. At three o’clock it was all over ‘the fat lady had sung’ and all that remained was collect a number of beers, find a seat and settle down for the mammoth prize giving and raffle.
By the close most Brits were going home with extra weight in their cases from either medals or prizes won in the raffle. Everyone who made the journey enjoyed the experience and are looking at the European Championships in Czech Republic next July, or the next World Champs in Germany.
Many thanks to the hosts for their hard work making it a well-run and enjoyable shoot for all, and those who travelled there.
Results from the championships can be found here