Bristol’s Hope native earns national pistol championship
A native of Bristol’s Hope was dead on during a national marksman competition last week, walking with top honours in several divisions.
Mark Hynes earned a Canadian title at the National Pistol Championships held in Granby, Quebec Aug. 27-31.
A native of Bristol’s Hope, Hynes resides in Oromocto, New Brunswick.
Hynes was among some 80 shooters from across Canada, including women, men, juniors and disabled competitors.
He competed in several different events, keeping his aim not only on the targets, but also on positions for both the national and Canadian Forces pistol teams.
The five-day competition was made up of seven different events including 50-metre free pistol, 25metre sport pistol, 25-metre centre fire, 25-metre standard pistol, 25metre Olympic rapid fire, 10-metre air pistol and 25-metre military rapid fire.
Facing high expectations and a very tight competition schedule, Hynes limited his participation to four events in order not to mentally and physically overtire.
The best shooters in the world only specialize in one or two events.
On the first day of the competition, with a score of 528/600 points, Hynes found himself in first place going into the men’s 50-metre free pistol finals, fending off his competition to earn the national championship.
Also on Day 1, Hynes shot a 565/600 in the 10-metre air pistol to earn a position on the National Pistol Development Team.
The performance also saw him enter the men’s air pistol finals in second place, where he finished third overall.
The last event on opening day was the 25-metre military rapid fire. This was one of two qualification matches for the CISM men’s and women’s pistol teams and was not open to civilian competitors due to scheduling restrictions.
Hynes delivered 542/600 points to end up sixth, while competing for one of three positions on the Canadian Forces team.
The next day, he bounced back and delivered a Canadian championship winning performance with a score of 576/600 in the 25-metre centre fire match, despite suffering a broken ejector, and having to switch to his back-up pistol halfway through the event.
With his combined military rapid fire and centre fire scores, he clinched a position on the men’s Canadian Forces team.
Hynes’ next major event will see him representing Canada as a member of the National Development Team at the continental championships (Championship of the Americas) in Rio-de-Janeiro in November.
While there he will attempt to earn a starting position for the 2012 Olympics in London.
The Championship of the Americas will be followed immediately by the 45th World Military Shooting Championships, also in Rio-de-Janeiro.
Hynes says some of the major challenges he faces are the absence of a national team coach, as well as the lack of suitable training facilities in the Atlantic region.
After a decade away from the sport, Hynes re-entered last year to compete at the National Pistol Championships in Calgary. There, he turned in an impressive performance, winning the 10-metre air pistol championship, as well as placing second overall in both the 25-metre standard pistol and centre fire and third overall in 50-metre free pistol. He earned positions on both the Canadian Forces Team and National Development Team.
The sport is governed by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) and, nationally, by the Shooting Federation of Canada (SFC).
All these disciplines require highly specialized equipment, including competition pistols from .177 to .38 cal, match-grade ammunition, special shoes and shooting glasses with irises, blinders and coloured lens filters.
National champion shooter, Mark Hynes sports the medals he earned at the National Pistol Championships in Granby, Quebec.