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Shooting for athletes with visual impairments was transferred to independence from IBSA in 2019.

The sport is now governed by World Shooting Para Sport who are responsible for organising competitions and growing shooting around the world.

IBSA helped to develop the classification system and to promote and develop shooting over a number of years, including testing and trialling the equipment used by athletes with visual impairments in competition.

Athletes use standard shooting equipment with a special electronic audio aiming device fitted to the gun. The aiming device detects the point of aim of the gun relative to the target and provides the shooter, through headphones, different tones indicating the point of aim.

A shooter is also permitted an assistant (also known as a loader) to provide information to ensure that the athlete is aiming in the right direction. Through these adaptations anyone, regardless of the amount of sight they have, can achieve an accuracy comparable to a fully sighted shooter.

All athletes compete in one class, called SH-VI, in 10m air rifle competitions. There are standing and prone events.

Credit: IPC


Whilst shooting for athletes with visual impairments was governed by IBSA for many years, the sport has its roots with another organisation.

IPC Shooting (now known as World Shooting Para Sport) staged a demonstration event during the European Championships in Bruge, Belgium, in 1993. Another demo competition was held in 1994 in Linz, Austria, during the World Championships.

The sport then featured officially at IPC Shooting World and European Championships throughout the nineties before IBSA began hosting competitions in 1998. This started with a Worlds in 1998 in Melsheim, France and a Europeans in Chalons Sur Saone, also in France in 1999.

IBSA continued to develop the sport’s rules throughout the 2000s but competition for vision impaired shooters was dropped from IPC Shooting competitions by the time of the organisation’s 2010 World Championships.

Credit: IPC

World and regional Championships continued to be held by IBSA in the following years.

By 2013 discussions began again between IBSA and IPC Shooting to return athletes with visual impairments to IPC competition.

This officially happened in 2019 after a sport-specific and evidence-based classification system was developed and various test events were held over a number of years.

Athletes with visual impairments competed at the 2019 World Shooting Para Sport World Championships in Sydney, Australia.

IBSA Shooting Committee

Similar to athletics and swimming, IBSA maintains a shooting Committee even though it no longer governs the sport.

This group continues to assist World Shooting Para sport with the development of shooting for athletes with a visual impairment, offering expertise and assistance with classification and rules. The Committee also ensures that athletes with visual impairments are fairly represented at competitions and in other spheres.

Michael Whapples