Road to Paris: shooting matches will not be in Paris during the Olympic Games, but the ISSF has arranged for a "Shooters' House" in Châteauroux

ISSF House: Inside there will be LED-walls on which the images of the competition day will be shown.

The World Shooting circus will unfortunately not be in Paris during the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad. The 300 or so shooters and technicians will not be able to enjoy the Olympic village, nor all the fantastic celebrations that accompany the Paris Olympic Games, and they will not be able to fully experience the Olympic "spirit". They will be busy far away, 250 km south of Paris, at the National Shooting Center in Châteauroux, where the organisation has arranged the competitions.

The International Shooting Federation (ISSF), while technically appreciating the facility owned by the French Shooting Federation (FFtir), did not like the location outside the heart of the Paris Olympics and had to find a solution – the only viable one – to guarantee a place for celebrating the medal winners and host the entire shooting community in the best possible way.

The ISSF House at the Paris 2024 Olympic Summer Games

ISSF House Châteauroux 2024: A rendering of what the gala dinner room will look like.

The ISSF House in Châteauroux is that solution and represents the tangible effort of the "new era" proposed by Luciano Rossi when he took up his role as ISSF President. It will provide "a warm welcome and a comfortable base to athletes, global media, members of the shooting sport community and a range of special guests".

Above all, with the House the ISSF expects to change the way the world sees shooting sports, starting with the Olympic opening ceremony on July 26 and through all 10 days of scheduled competitions. The ISSF House is expected to host around 3,000 people, offering real experiences with some of the most influential members of the shooting sports world and beyond.

Alessandro Nicotra di San Giacomo (left, with President Rossi) was elected Secretary General of the International Shooting Federation on 19 February.

"The president wanted this shared and celebratory space" explains Alessandro Nicotra di San Giacomo, newly appointed ISSF Secretary General, "a hub connected to Paris from where we plan to participate remotely in the opening ceremony and which we will use as a reception space for teams, athletes, coaches and support staff, accredited and selected external guests. From 6 p.m. each day we will organise aperitifs in a large lounge and gala dinners in a 250-person room with chefs offering international cuisine. There will be live music and DJ sets and we will celebrate the medals of the day in the best possible way."

On February 19, Alessandro Nicotra di San Giacomo was unanimously elected Secretary General of the International Shooting Sports Federation by the ISSF Executive Committee (ExCo). The ExCo meeting, held at the headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee in Rome, was attended by Kit McConnell, International Olympic Committee Sports Director (IOC) and CONI President Giovanni Malagò: this is evidence of the credit that shooting sports are regaining at all levels in the sports-political spheres that matter.

Plan showing the ISSF House internal set up.
Plan showing the ISSF House internal set up.

The organisation of the ISSF House in a historic location

The ISSF House is a place to celebrate medal winners and host the entire shooting community in the best possible way.

The space chosen is beautiful: it is one of the 44 Villages by CA created by Crédit Agricole over the last ten years in France, Italy and Luxembourg. Unique places where start-ups and businesses can work together for decentralised innovation, bringing together a total of 1,400 start-ups and more than 800 partners. The building chosen by ISSF for its Olympic House is the former Balsan royal textile factory, purchased by the Balsan family in 1850. It was there, in particular, that the famous bleu horizon colour worn by French army soldiers during the First World War was born.

Abandoned in the 1970s, the site was purchased by the municipality of Châteauroux in 1998, renovated in 2018 and opened in its current form in 2020, next to the engineering school and not far from the university center. "The shooting house is a large, titanic project, which ISSF has never carried out so far and which will be capable of accommodating 450 people per day," Nicotra di San Giacomo explains. "It is a major investment, necessary for the shooting movement. We are working with the marketing team to gather sponsors, who have shown a lot of interest, but it all has to be realised so that it does not only weigh on the federation's budget".

Details of the ambitious ISSF House project were unveiled a few weeks ago during the 50th IWA OutdoorClassics international trade fair for hunting and shooting sports in Nuremberg, Germany.

Olympic Shooting Sports: the growth of the "new" ISSF and the great opportunity of Paris 2024

Also present at the latest ISSF Executive Committee held at the CONI headquarters in Rome were Kit McConnell,  International Olympic Committee Sports Director (IOC), and Giovanni Malagò, CONI president.

President Rossi was pleased with the growth of ISSF in terms of new marketing and communication strategies. He also emphasised the exciting possibilities and business opportunities offered by the ISSF House project. The House will also include a dedicated multimedia room that will offer interview opportunities with athletes and medal winners of Paris 2024 and other legendary figures of the sport. All this with significant amplification on the ISSF's own digital channels and sports media.

"In the large space available, there will be large ledwalls on which the images of the Olympic day will be projected, to bring to life the Olympic village spirit for those present," concludes Nicotra di San Giacomo. "We are negotiating with Olympic Channel to be able to use all the footage. With the organisation of Paris 2024 there is a very good atmosphere, a new and fruitful collaboration, because ISSF is mending the gap of the past."

From now until July 26, 2024 the authorities of Châteauroux-Déols, together with the ISSF, are busy trying to make the stay of athletes, coaches, technicians, journalists and all those who will arrive in Châteauroux for the Olympic Games shooting competitions more comfortable and pleasant.

This article is also available in this language: