Competition Report: 2011 World Field Target Championships – Italy

Team Wild TV Team Wild TV

Date: in Airgun

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The 2011 World Field Target Championships took place in the beautiful surroundings of the Comune di Velo d’Astico, Vicenza in the mountainous northeast of Italy over the 2nd-4th September.

Whereas the European Field Target Championship is arguably the most competitive, the World’s is the one that everyone wants to win.

It doesn’t seem that long ago we were in Hungary for the 2010 Championships, but the Italians had clearly spent the time productively, creating one of the most well organized and smooth running tournaments I have ever attended.

Tournament Director Nicola Paggiaro had clearly put his heart and soul into the event, and it showed.

Travelling abroad with rifles is something I’m quite used to, but the paperwork required to get our field target rifles into Italy was something else! Whereas the UK doesn’t recognize sub-12ftlb air rifles as firearms, the same can’t be said for the rest of Europe.

Luckily Rob Farnsworth and Mick Woodhead had toiled behind the scenes to help arrange the necessary permits and letters of invitation. I’d like to pass on my thanks from all of the British shooters who travelled – without these guys we simply wouldn’t have made it!

The World Championships enjoys a unique, almost celebratory atmosphere. Although it’s only my second time at the worlds, I saw many familiar faces from last years event and immediately felt at home.

Thanks to the marvels of social media, I was already acquainted with many of the competitors and spent much of my time chatting rifles, scopes and other such fascinating topics.

However, one thing you simply couldn’t ignore was the magnificence of the surroundings. The mountains overlooking the zero-ranges should really have given us an idea to what was in store, but nobody really expected what was to come.

With 212 competitors from 26 different countries, it was a truly international occasion. The team event also promised to be competitive with England fielding arguably their strongest side in years – including 5 former World Champions, plus the reigning BFTA Grand Prix Series and Showdown Champions.

As usual, the immaculately turned out South Africa squad brought an air of professionalism to the sport – maybe this could be their year…

The main complex and zero ranges were completely separate from the courses, which remained closed to competitors until the first morning.

We made our way out of the complex for a short walk to the Velo d’Astico Comune up an almost vertical hill. This was out first taste of what lay ahead!

The three 50-shot courses were laid out together and weaved their way through the spectacular gardens of the Comune interspersed with deep valleys, rocky ridges, mountain streams and cascading waterfalls.

Lanes from each of the Red, White and Green courses placed were placed consecutively, meaning that regardless of which course you were shooting on any given day, the weather conditions would be identical.

It also made the experience a very sociable one as you were always bumping into your friends and team mates along the way.

As befits a World Championship, the courses were very challenging, taking full advantage of the topography and making you think carefully about every shot.

Each course had four positional lanes – two standing and two kneeling – many of which were at seemingly impossible angles and employing reduced kill-zones. This was certainly not a competition for the feint hearted!

Day One of the competition saw a few of the top competitors post unusually low scores. A 34 from reigning World Champion Jose ‘Pepone’ Redondo effectively put him out of the running, but equally surprising were Andy Calpin on 39 and 3-time World Champion Ian Taylor on 30.

Each appeared to suffer technical trouble of some kind. No such worries for South Africa’s Piet Breedt who posted a phenomenal 48 ex 50 to finish the day 2 points ahead of England’s James Osborne and help ensure South Africa led the team event from England by a similar margin.

Day Two brought with it incredible heat and humidity, which demanded even greater concentration and provided a harsh test of endurance.

After a relatively poor first day, both Calpin and Pepone posted world-class scores of 44 and 46 respectively to storm back up the leaderboard.

But the performances of the day came from Northern Ireland’s Conor McFlynn on 47 and England’s Simon Ayres with 48 – catapulting them into a 3-way tie for first place on 91 ex 100 with 2006 Champion James Osborne. England also regained the lead in the Team event – a lead they were never to relinquish.

There was a definite air of nervousness in the hotel the night before the final days competition, with everyone heading to bed early to rest their weary legs.

The sheer effort required to navigate your way around the course was exacerbated by the need to contort yourself into ‘pretzel-esque’ positions – resulting in some very tired faces!

The final day of competition saw five names in contention for the title – with McFlynn, Ayres, Osborne, Breedt and Russia’s Sergey Zubenko separated by just 2 points.

Even stronger performances than the previous day saw Calpin (46) and Pepone (47) leap into the Top-10.

A solid 46 from young Craig McDonald earned him a shoot-off with Calpin for the 2nd year running – this time for 5th place.

With Ayres, Osborne and Breedt only managing to post 44s, the way was open for arguably the form shooter in the world this year – Conor McFlynn – to take the title, holding his nerve to post a breathtaking 48 ex 50.

An incredible performance over 3 days on arguably the most challenging World Championship course ever. Congratulations to 2011 World Field Target Champion Conor McFlynn.

The 2012 World Field Target Championships will held in Norway – date TBC.

Ian’s 2011 World Championship Adventure!

After my last minute preparation last year, you’d have thought my preparation for this year’s championship would have been meticulously planned – and they were… sort of!

Clare had made all of the necessary travel arrangements and Rob had handled the paperwork. All I had to do was turn up and shoot!

However, my EV2 had other ideas and decided it was going to have a series of funny turns just a few weeks out from the competition, forcing me to bring my trusty Walther LG300 out of the gunroom – resplendent in it’s sexy new Realtree AP coating my Hydrographics.

So just like last year, I ended up fitting the scope to my rifle 2 days before flying out!

Luckily for me, the Walther is a superb performer and provided incredible results in practice – both at home and in Italy.

I was pleased with my performance on Day 1, posting a solid 41 ex 50. I missed 2 reduced kill zones, 2 standers, 2 kneelers, 2 for wind that was there, and 1 for wind that wasn’t.

I was relaxed, confident with my shooting and took all of the long targets comfortably. Maybe with a little more concentration I could have stolen a couple more, but overall I was happy.

Day 2 however was a different story! I don’t know if it was the travel, the physicality of the course from the previous day or just mental fatigue, but I felt drained from the outset.

I couldn’t sit steady and found it difficult to concentrate and hold aim on the target. I began trying to force shots and became increasingly frustrated. Not a great recipe for success! A miserable 34 was a score I was keen to put behind me.

A relatively early night before Day 3 helped to get back in the zone. I still missed a couple of silly targets for wind, but made up for it by taking some great positional shots with reduced kill zones.

As the day wore on, I became more and more relaxed and the targets kept falling and I ended up posting a respectable 41 ex 50.

It seems that there is a direct correlation between preparation, rest, relaxation and performance. Something else to consider for next year – or perhaps even the AAFTA US Nationals in Tennessee this October!

Individual Results

Place Name Country Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Total
1 Conor McFlynn Northern Ireland 44 47 48 139
2 Simon Ayres England 43 48 44 135
3 James Osborne England 46 45 44 135
4 Piet Breedt South Africa 48 42 44 134
5 Andy Calpin England 39 44 46 129
6 Craig McDonald England 44 39 46 129
7 Francois du Toit South Africa 44 42 42 128
8 Andrew Gillot England 44 39 45 128
9 Jose Redondo Spain 34 46 47 127
10 Ferenc Sas Hungary 44 41 42 127

Ladies Results

Place Name Country Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Total
1 Galina Yakushina Russia 36 43 40 119
2 Natali Terblanche South Africa 32 40 41 113
3 Lynn Delene Strydom South Africa 37 34 40 111

Springer Results

Place Name Country Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Total
1 Linas Burvys Lithuania 33 36 35 104
2 Andrew Idris Kays Norway 37 31 30 98
3 Rob Farnsworth England 26 36 33 95

Junior Results

Place Name Country Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Total
1 Francois du Toit South Africa 44 42 42 128
2 Alessandro Adobati Italy 33 38 43 114
3 Tamas Szomju Hungary 34 38 37 109

As published in the November 2011 Edition of Air Gunner Magazine

2 Comments

  1. Great and well written report Ian. Wayne Burns and I look forward to seeing you and your team
    in Oregon next year.

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