Well done SA, hope you enjoyed it.
We went, we are back.
We learned a lot
We made great new friends.
We will go again!
I left 19 June, check-in at Cape Town Airport was clean sailing. I flew with Emirates. A quick (7hour) stop over in Dubai. The last flight to Poland was in a 737. All went smooth!!Got the rental car. Driving on the "wrong side" of the road was fun after flying for more than 1 day. Drove from Krakow to Katowitce. Where I met up with the UK team and booked into the hotel.
Every day I had to drive from Katowitce to Kalety and then back.
The Friday morning I got to the zero range a bit early (Like any good prepared South African). Met up with th rest of team SA. Did the entry paperwork. I zeroed the scope the best I could in the wind. So it was a lot of shooting the afternoon at the zero range, and some crony checking. This is also where the metal games of the other teams started, there was a few people trying to upset us , this must be par for the course at big events like this. There was some rain the afternoon. We went for a very great team lunch.
The next morning, started with rechecking the zero of rifles. A quick safety briefing and then I was off to start shooting on the Red course. This was a quick brisk walk of about 1.5km. Wind blowing and swirling. Shooting from full sun to very dark places, from full shaded to full sun, left, right, smaller reducers than we are used to (no 40mm to be seen). Carrying my 16kg case and rifle between lanes. This was a great day, and gave us a clear welcome to Worlds! Lesson: Still need to up my fitness level.
Quick WHFTO delegates meeting. A band played, followed by the raffle. Sadly we did not win anything.
The second day was a quick zero again. A safety briefing again, and then I walked to white course. I must say that the shooting partners I was pair with was great people, never did they laugh or play mental games with me.
People ask which course was the most difficult. For me they where very different. Red was very long shots, and lot's of open spaces with wind. White was more technical shots (playing with your eyes in dark and light, swirling wind). This is just my views. In my opinion the Worlds courses was between 15 to 20% more difficult to the courses we are used to at home (No 40mm reducers, and longer shots on smaller reducers, and lots of direction changes, which make the wind not easy to read)
At the day end we walked back, and had a cooldrink or two. Next was some shootoffs, and then the prize giving.
Last was the long drive back to Krakow. Followed by more than 24 hours of traveling home again.
I'm very proud of what team SA did, we will be back next year (If all goes to plan as the Protea Team).
Lastly I want to thank a few people:
1. My wife and son (they almost never complains when I go shooting)
2. Lourens and Cynthia for the team shirts.
3. Ulrich and Riaan, gave me a 3 shoot weekend for last big practice.
4. The cape town HFT league members who supported us all the way.
5. Krzysztof Kowalczyk that helped us with all the prep of paperwork and answered all Poland questions I had
Well Van The Man,
Thank you for sharing your experience with the forum. Always interesting reading about how different the World Competitions are compared to back here in the good ol RSA.
Now that you and your team have had the experience of a World Championship, may you guys grow and become Proteas. We may just call on your Gauteng shooters to help with the World Field Target Championship 2020 being held here next August 2020.
1. A lot more longer shots
2. More shots on close to max distance
3. Much more different target sizes (bolt to hinge, hinge width, etc) This plays with the eyes to judge distance
4. Only one target per lane
5. Bigger area used for course
Over time we will bring this into HFT in South Africa, but we also need to grow the sport. I stand 100% behind the way the current SAHFTA is introducing these things.
Just adding some things to Jan's post from my side.
The different environment (more shaded what we are used to) and mostly longer shots certainly caught us a bit "off-guard" on the two days. Despite not faring as well as we would have hoped, we certainly learned a lot from it and we can only improve on it.
We made great friends over there and a special word needs to go to the members of the Loughborough Club from England who was a great bunch to socialize with and made us welcome.In actual fact it goes for the entire fraternity of air gunners from all the countries that was there.
Also to the two members in my group (Matej and Mirolslav Grega from Slovakia). Matej incidentally won the junior league with a combined score of 148 (3 behind the overall leader) and it was impressive to see how he shot, only missing some "positionals" on the 2nd day.
To the other SAHFTA members and our local air gunning community - participating in a worlds event like this is a fantastic opportunity which you should not miss if you get the chance. Don't let the cost put if you off at 1st. It is something to be experienced!