The Nanjing 2014 sports: Shooting

The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has come up with an international mixed team event for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing and is hopeful of developing the format for use at future competitions.

Held at the Fangshan Shooting Hall, the Nanjing 2014 shooting programme will feature the traditional 10m air rifle and 10m air pistol events, with the men taking 60 shots in both and the women 40. A total of 80 athletes (40 men and 40 women) will be taking part in the four events, with a new direct elimination system being applied at the YOG, in preparation for use at Rio 2016.

The ISSF has also come up with further innovations. The IOC has approved its proposal to add two new events, mixed 10m air rifle international teams and mixed 10m air pistol international teams, to the programme for Nanjiing, and it is hoped that ISSF member federations and other shooting organisations will adapt the new rules for mixed team events in their own championships.

A competition of the future

This fascinating new team format will be road-tested at the YOG, where each team competing in the mixed 10m air rifle and mixed 10m air pistol competitions will be composed of one male and one female athlete, based on their final rankings in the individual events, with the first-placed male athlete being paired with the 20th-placed female athlete, the second-placed male with the 19th-placed female, and so on.

Given that they are based on rankings, teams will be formed by athletes from different NOCs and will therefore not be representing their own countries. It has instead been decided that teams will be given the names of cities that have hosted the Olympic Summer Games, such as Melbourne, Paris, Mexico City and Athens. St Louis and Antwerp will not be represented, since the Games that they hosted in 1904 and 1920 respectively, did not include shooting competitions.

Shooting side by side, the two members of each team will take 40 shots in the qualifying phase, with 45 targets facing them. They will have 50 minutes in which to complete their shots. The scores of both team members will be added together and the combined total will determine the top 16 teams, who will advance to the round of 16, which is followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the two medal matches.

In the knockout duels, team members will each fire one shot and their two scores are combined, with the opposing team then taking their shots. The team with the higher aggregate score wins one point. The first team to score 10 such points will be declared the winner and will move into the next round.