Marksmen gunning for Canada Winter Games spots

The top youth athletes from B.C., Alberta and the Yukon will take their best shots at the Hinterland Air Gun Match this weekend in Prince George.

Hosted by the Prince George Rod and Gun Club at CNC's gymnasium today and Sunday, the match is an official test event for the 2015 Canada Winter Games next month.

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So far, about 32 junior athletes between the ages of 15 and 20 will compete in male and female air rifle and air pistol events.

Standing 10 metres away, they'll aim at a bullseye the size of a pin head.

According to the B.C. Target Sports Association, the women shoot 40 shots for a total possible 400 points in 75 minutes during competitions, while the men fire 60 shots for a 600-point possible score.

"This is the first time that an electronic scoring system will be used," said organizer George Hohnisch. "We're renting it from the Alberta Handgun Association in Calgary."

Today's first match gets underway at 9 a.m. and continues until 10:30 a.m. The second match begins at 1 p.m. and continues until 2:30 p.m.

The top eight in each event advance to the finals on Sunday.

The men's rifle finals are slated to begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 9:45 a.m., and the ladies pistol finals are from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. The ladies rifle finals follow at 11 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. The men's pistol finals cap off the day from noon to 12:45 p.m.

In the finals, they will fire a series of up to 20 scoring shots. Competitors will be eliminated until the last two standing compete for the gold and silver medals in a final three-shot match.

After the finals, Team B.C. will be selected for the Canada Winter Games.

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