When did Shooting emerged as Sport ?
The game of shooting has evolved over the centuries. Let’s check out its development :
- Shooting as a sport is designed as an exercise in marksmanship. While modern shooting is associated with rifles, pistols and shotguns, earlier versions included crossbows and arrows.
- Before the advent of firearms in the 13th century, skills in archery were tested. The idea was to shoot targets for accuracy from a particular distance or set of distances.
- It is believed that the earliest shooting matches began in Bavaria in 1477. The shooters in this case used matchlocks and competed from 200 meters. Similar events have been depicted in 1504 Swiss Painting.
- German museums indicate that wooden targets for firearm shooting were used as early as 1540. Other places like Russia saw rise of shooting ranges and consequently shooting events in 1730s. At the American frontier, these games were introduced in 1750s.
- Target rifle shooting has been a popular sport before 1800s in Britain. Incidentally, books on rifle shooting were written in the country. Henry Beuafoy published the first book about the game in 1808.
- The rising popularity of shooting led to the first World Shooting Championship in 1897, when 300-meter rifle matches where played to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Lyon, France’s Shooting Club.
- As a sport, it was introduced in the first Olympic Games, 1896. The games, which were played in Athens had several competitions. In Paris games, 1900, live pigeons were introduced. However, this was met with criticism from different societies and hence, pigeons were replaced with clay targets thereafter.
- This was also the period when shooting in India actually started. It was initially popularized by the Indians, who worked as officers in the British Army. The easy access to firearms and the need to practice skills at weapons led to the beginning of semi-formal shooting tournaments. However, no championships were organized, as the country was still under British siege.
- 1907 was the year when International Shooting Sport Federation came into existence. Due to the nature of the game, the board introduced different changes, and sought standardization to promote different types of shooting events.
- India began participating in shooting events formally once National Rifle Association of India was established. The governing body was formed in 1951 to promote the sport. The first speaker of Lok Sabha, Shri G.V. Mavlankar was the founder of this organization.
- Since the establishment of a governing body, shooting has become an important sport for India. It is considered crucial for Olympics, where Indian teams and individual players have won several metals. Over the years, India has accumulated 26 medals, including a gold medal by Abhinav Bindra.
- 2008 and 2012 have been the best years for Indians in Olympics Shooting Events. It is during this period that India won individual gold medals, silvers and bronze in different tournaments.
- Olympics Shooting is a major event, which has 15 shooting categories for men and women. In India, National Shooting Championship Competition is held annually to give young talent an opportunity for showcasing their skill and grabbing a spot in international games.