17 nations are participating in Châteauroux-Déols.
The first few days are meant for training and acclimatization on-site. Many of the shooters already know each other from earlier events, and friendships have formed that endure over long distances and many years. During these initial days, the shooters practice their different disciplines. Each shooting range presents unique lighting and wind conditions. Some ranges require considerable distances to be covered, and minibusses are used to transport shooters and their equipment between the main buildings and the 100m shooting stands. Precise organization is crucial, and during the competitions, seamless workflows must be internalized for good results. Stress is kept to a minimum for the shooters. Solid unity is evident, camaraderie is highly valued, and nations support each other.
There are entire shooting families, and some participants include two generations. Those who grew up with sports shooting, often experiencing it through their parents, usually continue the tradition and begin with light and air rifles from a young age.
Scientifically, it’s proven that children who participate in shooting perform better in school. They learn more easily and quickly since shooting requires good concentration and trains the ability to focus on demand.
Emphasis is placed on training and support, and it’s common for trainers to have a background in active shooting themselves. They pass on their experiences and special training methods to the shooters, helping them train and correct their techniques to avoid acquiring bad habits that may need to be unlearned later.
Trainer Thomas Baumhakl has been accompanying the German national team since 2015. He used to shoot modern firearms and muzzleloaders. In 1984, Thomas obtained his black powder license and diligently trained, participating in his first ranking competition in 1995. In 2001, he went to his first international competition. He ended his shooting career in 2015 when Gerhard Lang asked him if he wanted to fill the coaching position. This decision was a real gain for international muzzleloading shooting competitions. A remarkable aspect is that Thomas has traveled to many places worldwide, including Australia, Batesville – USA, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Germany, Bordeaux – France, and Châteauroux-Déols.
Team manager Thomas Klaner competed in Olympic disciplines and various regional teams for 12 years. He always had a parallel interest in muzzleloading shooting, influenced by his father, who was a muzzleloading shooting official. At the age of 23, Thomas obtained his black powder license and started participating in muzzleloading shooting. In 2012, he qualified for the German Championship for the first time, which made him very happy. He had already been a regional official for Running Target shooting for eight years, but he decided to step down from that position to focus on muzzleloading shooting. In 2013, a turning point occurred when his father gifted him a flintlock rifle for 50m shooting.
In 2014, Thomas Klaner became the first-place winner at the German Championships in Pforzheim. His disciplines include percussion rifle, flintlock rifle, service rifle, matchlock, handguns, and 100m shooting. In 2017, he participated in Granada, where the team won gold in the Vetterli discipline, and Thomas secured the third place in the Pennsylvania discipline individual competition. After that, Thomas qualified and served as the delegation leader in 2022. Gerhard Lang was looking for a successor to his position and approached Thomas Klaner, asking if he would consider taking on the role. After a family discussion, it was unanimously decided that Thomas would assume the position. When the team won gold in the Pennsylvania discipline in 2022, Gerhard Lang promptly made the transition.
The only condition Thomas had was, “I want to remain a sports shooter.”
The opening ceremony will take place this evening. Stay tuned.
We wish all the nations a delightful opening ceremony tonight and a successful start tomorrow. “Good shooting!”
All Texts & Pictures Copyright by Susanne Panhans