Formal target shoots involving the bow and arrow and the spear were first used as military training activities. However, history shows that the Greeks were in fact some of the first to hold archery contests to shoot pigeons on top of tall poles in honour of the Gods.
By the 10th century, marksmanship evolved into a social and recreational sport. Swiss hero William Tell gained honour during the 14th century after successfully shooting an apple off his son’s head.
The first shooting clubs were formed by German speaking peoples in the 13th and 14th centuries. Membership was limited to men only. At first, bows and wheel-lock muskets were shot from the standing position, but by the 16th century, firearms with rifled barrels were used in public matches.
The first World Shooting Championships were fired in 1897 in Lyon. Women’s events were first instituted at the 1958 Championships, and today World Championships for men and women in all disciplines are fired every four years.
The art of successful air pistol shooting, relies not on physical strength, rather on a combination of hand/eye co-ordination and most importantly a good stance. The sport requires minimum physical exertion, so males and females of all ages can compete equally on all levels.
Also known as Trapshooting, Clay Bird Shooting and Clay Pigeon Shooting, shooters use double-barrelled shotguns, usually 12-gauge, to shoot clay discs launched form a mechanical device called the “trap.”
Originating in England in the late 18th Century, trapshooting was designed to improve hunting skills but quickly became a competitive sport in it’s own right. The first targets were live birds which were released from cages.
However, this practice had virtually died out by the end of the 19th Century when saucer-shaped clay discs were introduced, similar to those used today.
The variety of traps available is enormous. The Clay Shooting event in Shetland will include Automatic Ball Trap, Olympic Skeet, Universal Trench and English Sporting.
English Sporting is the most popular form of clay shooting today. In its early form, English sporting usually presented the shooter with two different targets. An average competition may comprise of around five stands used to shoot around 30 targets.
These targets can be launched as singles or pairs. The pair consists either of one target then the other being launched the instant a shot is fired, or both targets being fired at the same time.
Three shooting ranges have been built on Rhodes for the Island Games.
The Air Gun event will be held in the Kapodistriou shooting range, the shot gun disciplines in the Afandou range and the remaining at Kalamonas.