Rifle team from Japan takes in NRA Long Range Championships
Port Clinton, Ohio
- One of the special events at this year's Long Range High Power Rifle Championships at Camp Perry was the America Match — a competition between eight-man rifle teams from the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan. Of all the teams, it was the Japanese who faced one of the biggest obstacles ... language.
"I was able to help a little with some of my broken Japanese," explained one of NRA's Match Officials. "That, along with a little impromptu sign language, made it possible for us to get their rifles on target."
But they weren't about to let a little thing like language stop them competing in the World Series of Shooting Sports. Thanks to a conversation at the World Palma Rifle Championships last year in Brisbane, Australia with U.S. Rifle Team Coach Dennis Flaherty, they found a way to make a trip to the NRA Long Range Championships possible.
"At the tournament in Brisbane, Dennis asked if we were competing in Camp Perry," explained Yoshihito Sakakibara during a competitors meet and greet. "I replied that if we had eight shooters then we will go. When we return(ed) to Japan, our team decided they want to go to Camp Perry. They promote(d) newcomers to join so this year we could come. We now have eight shooters.
Finding their way, throughout the competition, the ultimate test came at the end during the America Match. Given their last minute recruiting drive, one might expect that they didn't fare as well as the other Long Range Rifle teams ... one would be right. With a final score of
4,377-109x, their finish was a few hundred points behind the fourth place team. But that didn't dampen their spirits.
As everyone gathered for the final Long Range High Power Rifle Awards Ceremony (Palma Team and America Match awards were handed out directly after the Thursday competition), Japanese team members were there with smiles, handshakes and talk of returning for another shot at the title.
With the World Palma Rifle Championships coming to Camp Perry in 2015, there's a good chance they'll be back soon enough.