Shooting as a sport has been practised for hundreds of years in European countries, with some German shooting clubs dating back more than 500 years.

The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) was founded in 1907 as the International Shooting Union, changing its name in 1998. With the exceptions of the St Louis 1904 and Amsterdam 1928 Games, shooting has featured on every Olympic programme since the first modern Games in 1896. Women's events were added to the schedule at Los Angeles 1984.

In shooting, there are three disciplines; rifle and pistol where athletes shoot at stationary targets in a range and shotgun which involves hitting moving targets.  There are 15 events in the Olympic programme for men and women, divided into the three different disciplines. There are also mixed team events which include rifle, pistol, and trap. 

In rifle and pistol, participants aim at a target with concentric circles, with those closer to the centre earning more points. There are four gun types and three distances: 50m rifle, 10m air rifle, 25m rapid fire pistol and 10m air pistol. There are also three shooting positions: kneeling, where the athlete goes down on one knee and rests the gun on the other knee; prone, where the athlete shoots while lying down; and standing. In the shotgun event, competitors shoot at clay targets propelled at a series of different directions and angles.

Ireland has 2 Shooting bodies, the Ireland Clay Target Shooting Association and the National Target Shooting Association of Ireland.   

The Ireland Clay Target Shooting Association (ICTSA) is the National Governing Body (NGB) for Olympic and non-Olympic Disciplines, at Olympic Level,  ISSF Level, European Shooting Confederation Level, World Competition Level, FITASC, as well as International and National Clay Target Shooting in Ireland.  The aims of ICTSA are to promote and develop the various clay target shooting disciplines, and to select and field teams to represent Ireland in International Competitions, including World Events and the Olympics Games.

The National Target Shooting Association of Ireland is the National Governing Body for ISSF rifle and pistol target shooting events. These include Olympic disciplines as well as events run at World Championship level.  They are recognised by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF), the European Shooting Confederation and the Olympic Federation of Ireland, and are recognised through the National Rifle and Pistol Association of Ireland by the Irish Sports Council.

For the Olympic Games, and in all shooting disciplines, country quota places are allocated based on international results, with the only exception being Athletes with ISSF world rankings, which are awarded directly to the individual shooters and may not be changed. 

Irish clay target shooter Derek Burnett has competed in 4 Olympic Games, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 20212.  While Burnett finished in 9th position and just outside the top 6 in Athens, Irish shooters are yet to win a medal in Olympic competition.







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