Shooting occupies a prestigious place in the program of the first modern Olympic Games. As early as Athens 1896, it was among the only nine events scheduled. At that time there were three pistol disciplines: free and military revolver at 25 metres, free pistol at 30 metres. Then the free rifle at 300 metres and military rifle at 200.
Except for Saint Louis 1904, shooting remained on the Olympic program until the second Paris games in 1924. Unfortunately, however, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) cancelled all shooting events planned for Amsterdam 1928 because it argued that the prize money of the ITU (International Shooting Union, since 1998 ISSF) World Championships did not fall within the parameters of amateur sports. It was however immediately reinstated in Los Angeles 1932.
The individual 10 meter air pistol competition has been on the Olympic program since Seoul 1988, with separate men's and women's rankings.
The technical aspects: gun, targets, ammunition
The match gun is a 4.5 mm (.177 inch) caliber air pistol with a maximum weight of 1,500 grams. It can be freely owned as a sporting gun in most world countries. As for the regulation size, the gun must fit into a 420x200x50 mm box. The lead pellet, weighing approximately 0.5 grams, is propelled by air compressed with a cocking lever, or pre-filled air or CO2 containers. The trigger pull weight must not be less than 500 g. The grip of the pistol may not be extended in any way that would allow it to touch beyond the hand or any part of the wrist. Only "open" and non-optical sights are permitted. During competitions the gun must be held with one hand, in a standing position and with the target at a distance of 10 meters.
In the target, the diameter of the 10 ring, i.e. the center or mouche, is 11.5 mm, that is smaller than a 1 euro cent coin, while the diameter of the 9 ring is 27.5 mm (slightly larger than a 2 euro coin).
Qualification and Final
In the individual competition, the best eight shooters pass the qualifying rounds (60 shots in one hour and a quarter). Decimals in the score are not counted in this round; in the event of a tie, a tie-breaker is held. The highlight of the competition is the "ranking match" with scores including decimals (the maximum is 10.9). The shooter with the worst scores is eliminated after two series of five shots and one series of two shots; from then on, the worst-scoring athlete is eliminated every two shots. Gold is won by the one of the two remaining shooters who maintains the best score out of the total of 24 shots.
The articulation of the qualification is also essentially identical in the Mixed Team: 60 shots divided into 30 each for male and female shooters. The third and fourth qualified pairs compete for the bronze medal; the first pair against the second one for the gold medal.
The world specialists in the 10 meter air pistol
The Men's 10 Meter Air Pistol competition of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo took place on 24 July 2021. Thirty-six athletes from 29 different nations participated and the winner was 42-year-old Iranian nurse Javad Foroughi – a real surprise. The women's competition took place the following day and victory went to 25-year-old Russian Olympic Committee shooter Vitalina Bacaraškina.
Currently leading the ISSF women's ranking in the discipline is the Greek Anna Korakaki, a veteran despite being just 27 years old, ahead of India's Rhythm Sangwan and the semi-unknown other Indian Devi Anuradha. The top female specialists are Hungary's Veronika Major, India's Sainyam Sainyam and Esha Singh, Turkey's Sevval Ilayda Tarhan, Armenia's Elmira Karapetyan and German veteran Sandra Reitz.
At number one in the men's ranking is Hojin Lim from the Republic of Korea, followed by India's Varun Tomar and Bulgaria's Samuil Donkov. Besides these, all under the age of twenty-five, the top specialists are Uzbekistan's Mukhammad Kamalov, Italians Paolo Monna and Federico Nilo Maldini, Ukrainian Oleh Omelchuk, Slovakia's Juraj Tuzinsky, Latvia's Emils Vasermanis, Azerbaijan's Ruslan Lunev, India's Sagar Dangi, and Germany's Robin Walter.
10m air pistol medals and records
The 10 air pistol Olympic medal table sees China leading the way with seven gold, two silver and four bronze medals, followed by Russia, with a number of European countries in the spotlight: Bulgaria, Serbia, Italy, Ukraine and France.
The world qualifying record in the discipline belongs to Jin Jong-oh (South Korea) with 594 points, the Olympic record is held by Mikhail Nestruyev (Russia) with 591 points. The world record for the final was set in Doha (Qatar) in 2019 by Song Guk Kim (North Korea) with 246.5 points. The women's world record in qualifying belongs to China's Ranxin Jiang with 591 and the world record in the final to Serbia's Zorana Arunovic with 246.9.
During the months leading up to the Paris 2024 Olympics, we will publish an article every week dedicated to the Olympic Games and shooting sports. We will make you live the Olympic dream until the lighting of the brazier and even after, when it's medal time. Stay tuned!
To read the previous articles click on the links below:
- It will be a global celebration of sports: here's what to know about the Paris 2024 Olympic Games for sport shooters
- Ten days of passion! Shooting competitions at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games from July 27 to August 5 in Châteauroux
- Paris 2024 Olympic Games: sport shooting events to begin on July 27, 2024. Media coverage and time schedule
- Interview with Luciano Rossi, ISSF President