© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
The air pistol team representing the Lakeland District for the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games will have a decided local flavour to it as all but one of the members is from the Junior Olympic Program of the Prince Albert Pistol and Rifle Club. The team was selected after a competition was held in Saskatoon earlier this winter and they have their sights set on getting a gold medal when competitions begin on Monday at the Alfred Jenkins Field House. Shown in the photo are the members of the Lakeland District team, front row from left, Kaleb Thorpe-Fau, Drew Nevland (from Birch Hills), Randi Gyoerick and Tianna Stewart. In the back row, from left, are Easton Stewart, Quinten Saunders, coach Michelle Stewart and coach Ian Clark. Missing is Chris Klemens, who is from Codette, but normally shoots with the Prince Albert club.
A steady hand and a keen eye will be needed next week when the air pistol competitions are held during the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games.
Having those traits mastered will also bring in some medals and that is what the Lakeland District team is aiming for when the competitions begin on Monday at the Alfred Jenkins Field House.
“Air pistol is a sport of precision,” explains Lakeland District coach Michelle Stewart. “It takes a lot of concentration and mental effort.”
“Other sports are always looking for the fittest and the strongest,” added Stewart. “With air pistol a lot of people can do it because we aren’t looking for the fittest and the strongest. In air pistol you have to overcome the mental challenge.”
The air pistol event at the Winter Games is going to feature individual competitions on Tuesday and team competitions on Wednesday.
For the individual portion there will be eight competitors taking aim at one time with the boys firing 60 shots at a target 10 metres away and the girls shooting 40 rounds from the same distance. All shooters will be firing at a target that is 10 square centimetres with the boys using a free pistol and the girls handling a sport pistol.
After the initial round the top eight will advance to the finals where 20 more shots will be used, but there will be an elimination process kicking in when the eighth round is fired. From there it will be one shooter sitting down after two rounds until the last two are standing to determine the gold and silver medal winners.
The team competition will have teams of two going against the other districts with top scores determining the medal winners.
All shooters will be using a .177 calibre Olympic air pistol with the mode of power being the only difference. Some will have carbon dioxide cylinders powering their weapons while others will use compressed air.
Shooters all have to stand and Stewart says there is very strict rules around what clothes can be worn so as not to provide an advantage of any kind to a competitor.
The majority of the Lakeland District group are also members with the Prince Albert Pistol and Rifle Club. Those competing in the Winter Games range in age from 12-18 years and are in the Junior Olympic Program with the PAPRC.
While air pistol is the discipline being used in the Winter Games, Stewart says that there are many other styles of shooting done with the PAPRC as more than 400 members utilize the facilities at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation Club.
Regular shooting programs, with coaches present, are held every Monday from 7-9 p.m. while the range is also open on Wednesdays to members to get in some additional practise.
Stewart says it is a great sport to watch, but an even more enjoyable one to participate in and anyone interested in getting involved can drop by the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation Club to see the members in action or even just to get more information.