Rules and Classification
What is it?
Shooting is a sport that involves firing various types of guns at a target.
Who can participate in shooting at the Paralympics?
Shooting is open to athletes with a physical disability, including
- athletes who have some paralysis of the spine (paraplegic and quadriplegic),
- athletes with cerebral palsy,
- athletes who are amputees,
- athletes with progressive illnesses such as muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis.
Athletes with different disabilities compete together in two classes:
- SH1: athletes who can support the weight of the pistol or rifle without a shooting stand or table.
- SH2: athletes who require a stand or table to support the weight of the pistol or rifle.
Within general classifications SH1 and SH2, there are several further classifications:
- SH1A, B and C: SH1A for athletes with the least severe disabilities, progressing to SH1C for the most seriously disabled.
- SH2A, B and C: SH2A for athletes with the least severe disabilities, progressing to SH2C for the most seriously disabled.
Depending on the letter of classification, competitors are permitted to use a shooting chair with no backrest (class A), a low backrest (class B) or a high backrest (class C).
How is it played?
- The programme includes three men’s events, three women’s events and six mixed events.
- Competitors use two types of gun: a pistol (or handgun) or a rifle.
- There are three shooting positions: standing or sitting, kneeling and lying on the ground (prone).
- Athletes shoot from distances of 10m, 25m and 50m.
- All events have a traditional circular target, made up of 10 scoring rings. The centre ring, known as the bull’s-eye, is worth 10 points.
- The rules for each event depend on the gun, the distance, shooting position, number of shots and the time limit, but each competition consists of a qualification and a final round.
These rules take into account the differences that exist between shooting for the able-bodied and shooting for persons with a disability.
The first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960. What would you say if you knew that a Paralympic athlete had won Olympic gold in 1948 and was one of the greatest shooters in Olympic history?
In 1938, Károly Takács was a sergeant in the Hungarian Army and a world-class pistol shooter. Then, during an army training exercise, a defective grenade exploded and Takács’ right hand was severely injured.
He was determined to continue his shooting career, and so taught himself to shoot with his left hand. The following year he won the Hungarian pistol shooting championship.The Olympics Games did not take place in 1940 or 1944, because of the Second World War, but in London in 1948 Takács was part of the Hungarian team.
Before the competition began, the favourite, Argentinean Carlos Valiente, asked Takács why he was in London. Takács answered, "I'm here to learn." He then won the gold medal and set a new world record. During the medal ceremony, Valiente, who finished second, said to Takács, "You have learned enough."
At the Helsinki Olympics four years later he won another gold medal in the same event, and he also competed in Melbourne in 1956, although he did not win a medal.
When Takács retired as an athlete, he became a successful coach, and he retired from the Hungarian army as a lieutenant colonel.