Olympic Skeet at London

Skeet shooting became an Olympic discipline in 1968 and there was every justification for including this highly skilled form of clay target shooting alongside Trap. In its Olympic form, Skeet has produced a breed of gun handlers second to none. Fast targets, gun down and with a three second delay the 25-target round now includes eight sets of doubles. The word Skeet is a Scandinavian term for shoot and shooters from Denmark, Sweden and Norway have all produced their fair share of champions, but it’s the future we are looking at now most particularly London 2012. So let’s take a look at the list of contestants which, after the Asian Games in Doha, is now complete.

Norway

Winning his Olympic quota place early in 2011 at the World Cup shoot in Concepcion, Argentina, Tore Brovold also took silver in last year’s World Cup final. Currently ranked number one in the world, Tore will have no teammates in London with neither fellow Norwegians Tom Jensen or Ole Undseth gaining a quota place. After winning silver at the Beijing Games, and now 42 years old, the big Viking is in his prime.

Cyprus

In clay target shooting this tiny island in the Mediterranean packs a big punch. In London the Cypriots will be fielding a full men’s team with two times world champion Georgios Achilleos and Antonakis Andreou. At 31 years old we can expect Achilleos to be at the height of his powers. Currently ranked number three in the world he is another top competitor with a clutch of medals in competition at the highest levels of the game – with the exception of the Olympics. A four times European champion in the ‘90s, 38 year old Andreou won a World Cup shoot in Beijing last year. It may have been his first medal for 14 years, but it was also his ticket to London. In other sports you might describe Achilleos and Andreou as a suitable pairing of relative youth and experience, however clay target shooting is not a team game and I expect it is Achilleos who will make the final.

Italy

A nation of Trap shooters they may be, but Italians excel at all Olympic clay target disciplines. Ennio Falco is a truly all time great of Olympic Skeet shooting, the gold medallist at Atlanta in ‘06, and a five times European Champion, he’s also good at coming second with no less than four silver medals in World championships. His total medal haul in Olympic Games, World and European Championships and World Cup shoots totals over 50. Luigi Lodde, 31, is Falco’s Olympic teammate and has had a less glittering career, two Bronze Medals in European Championships and another in a World Cup shoot which earned him his place for London.

U.S.A.

The greatest shooting nation in the world, certainly in terms of numbers, it has not managed to win a single quota place for the Men’s Trap event for the first time in the history of the Games. The current Olympic Champion for Skeet is an American however, and with an impressive record. Vincent Hancock, born in Florida in 1989, is a soldier who spends most of his time at the US Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning in Georgia. A world champion in ‘05 and ‘09 and with 15 other medals in world class events; incredibly he’s still only 23 years old. Apart from the gold medal in the Pan-American Games in 2011, it was a quiet year by Hancock’s standards, currently ranked 44th in the world – what a nonsense these rankings are! Don’t expect this southern boy to go unnoticed in London this summer. His teammate Frank Thompson, a hunting and fishing enthusiast from Nebraska with little previous record began competing in ’04 – is he another fast gun from way out west?

Russia

We can be certain Valerly Shomin has done little but shoot from childhood. Born in Moscow in 1971, he began competing in 1983. He won two silver medals in the ‘02 and ‘06 world championships and was world champion in 2010.  Shomin is clearly a full time professional and a product of Russia’s Olympic training regime which makes him a formidable competitor, you might beat him but you won’t break him. Unusually he will be without a teammate in London, what a contrast to the ‘60s and ‘70s when Soviet Russia dominated Skeet shooting.

Czech

As a former member of the Soviet Union I don’t think the Czech Republic regrets the passing of Russian dominance in all its forms; however, their Olympic training methods mirror the old Soviet system. A graduate of this is Jan Sychra, he began competing in Olympic Skeet aged 16. Sychra was European champion in 2010 and has two silver and two bronze medals in earlier championships and other medals in World Cup events. He won his quota place for London last year in Concepcion, equalling the world record with 125 + 25. An impressive performance indeed, the word going around is “watch out for Sychra”.

Spain

The Spanish, with their abiding love of the pigeon ring, have always produced great Trap shooters; however the current Olympic Skeet world champion is Juan Jose Aramburu from the Basque country. He is 33 years old and won a silver medal in the European championships in ‘07 and a Bronze in ’04, but goes for long period without winning anything then springs a surprise. Perhaps he’ll spring another in London.

Kuwait

The second oldest competitor in the Skeet event at the London Olympics and one of the most distinguished, will be three times world champion in ‘95, ‘97 and ‘98 Abdullah Alrashidi. He won a bronze medal in the same event last year in Belgrade with 124 + 25. As a man who did not begin competing until 1989, he is clearly an outstanding talent and should he win a medal in London what a poke in the eye that would be for those, including our late and unlamented Performance Director Leighton Dyson, who tells everybody over 35 they are finished.

Great Britain

Talking of over 35s, step forward Richard Brickell, one of only three British quota place winners for London 2012. A 124 + 23 won Richard his place in Sydney, and a 122 + 23 in Nicosia last year should not go unmentioned. I spoke to him the other day and he was on his way to Derbyshire to train with his coach Joe Neville. Train hard Richard, we’re all rooting for you.

 

Those are some of the competitors in the Men’s Skeet event in the London Olympics this year, among which I would expect the medal winners to be found or maybe not. I have a feeling the Skeet event in London will be a very open competition.

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4 comments on “Olympic Skeet at London
  1. don green says:

    brillaint article. we all hope that our competitors do very well and win gold.regards don green

  2. don green says:

    brillaint article. we all hope that our competitors do very well and win gold.regards don green

  3. mike marsh says:

    You forgot about rory warlow he must have a chance of a medal.

  4. mike marsh says:

    You forgot about rory warlow he must have a chance of a medal.

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