Great Britain won three medals at London 2012, including 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 10m air rifle prone mixed SH1 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.
Great Britain qualified a total of 10 slots for Rio 2016 thanks to the performance of British athletes at the 2014 World Championships in Suhl, Germany, and subsequent IPC Shooting World Cups in Croatia, Australia and USA during 2015.
Notable performances in the cycle in include the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships in Alicante, Spain, where Matt Skelhon shot a world record in qualification and went on to win gold in the R6 50m rifle prone mixed SH1, with bronze for James Bevis in the R4 10m air rifle standing mixed SH2 and bronze for Karen Butler in the R8 50m rifle 3 positions women SH1.
At the IPC Shooting 2014 World Championships in Suhl, Germany, Matt Skelhon again triumphed to win gold in the R6 50m rifle prone mixed SH1 this time shooting a world record in the final, and also taking silver in the R3 10m air rifle prone mixed SH1.
The following year there were more medals for GB at the 2015 IPC Shooting World Cup in Osijek, Croatia, with James Bevis taking gold in the R5 10m air rifle prone mixed SH2, silver for Matt Skelhon in the R3 10m air rifle prone mixed SH1 and bronze in the R6 50m rifle prone mixed SH1, plus bronze for Lorraine Lambert in the R8 50m rifle 3 positions women SH1.
At the 2015 IPC Shooting World Cup in Fort Benning USA, Ryan Cockbill won gold in the R4 10m air rifle standing mixed SH2 and silver in the R5 10m air rifle prone mixed SH2, with Matt Skelhon claiming silver in the R6 50m rifle prone mixed SH1.
The team for Rio will represent a blend of experience and exciting new talent. London 2012 medallists Skelhon and Bevis are set to return for their third Games while Karen Butler will make her fifth Games appearance. Four debutants will compete in Rio, with Stewart Nangle, Lorraine Lambert, Issy Bailey and Owen Burke all impressing during the qualification period.
- 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:
- After less than two years in the sport, Matt Skelhon returned home from the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games with a gold medal, after securing victory in the R3 10m air rifle prone mixed SH1.
- 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. After London 2012 the qualification system in most rifle events changed to one decimal point as many competitors were scoring the maximum 600. The top score for a shot is now 10.9
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 20 shot final where all scores are reset to zero. The shots in the final are scored to one decimal place, with a top score of 10.9. After the first eight shots, and every two shots thereafter, the lowest place shooter is eliminated until only two remain for the final two shots.
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.