Shotgun reloaded: Smit braces up for new rules

Normally a silver medal at the Nationals, coming in the last competition of the year, would have meant a satisfactory end for the sportsman. But for Smit Singh, skeet shooter and a regular in Indian colours, the medal, won at the National shooting Championships past December, isn't exciting enough, as he forsees new challenges in 2013. For the record, Smit pipped Army's Allan Daniel Peoples in a shoot-off after both tallied 144 after PP Guron bagged the gold.

What is making Singh anxious, is the decision by the International Shooting Sport Federation's (ISSF) to overhaul the rules, which came into effect from Day One of 2013.

The new rules include increasing the target throwing distance in Skeet from 66m +/- 1m to 68m +/- 1m. Also, the firing order is changed so that the two station 4 doubles will be fired after station 7 and just before station 8. This means that the most difficult targets must be shot near the end of a round of Skeet instead of in the middle.

And already, Singh, and others have been practising hard to adapt to the new rules. "These changes will make a big difference. On windy days, the target will travel faster in the air. We will get less reaction time to break the targets. Our spot shooting days are over," says Smit.

The Indian shooters will have close to two months to get a grasp of changes as the World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico scheduled to be held from 15-24 March will be the first ISSF tournament for them under new set of rules.

"It will certainly keep us on our toes and will be a good mental exercise. In a way, we have to shoot the same number of shots but if somebody shoots perfect 23 out of 23, it won't necessarily mean he will finish on a perfect score of 25. He will have to come back to the fourth station for the double. And fourth station is the toughest one. So it will be a test of nerves and shooting those birds will make a lot of difference," Smit explains.

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