The Column, No. 46:
Die 2009 Suid Afrikaanse Protea Span
In July, the South African Protea Team will travel to Bisley, England to defend their world championship title against all comers. The F-Class world championships are held every four years. In 2005, they were hosted by the South Africans at Bloemfontain, capital of the Orange Free State Province of South Africa. It was quite an event, with the South Africans wresting the world championship from the United States in a very close contest.
Fast forward to 2009 and the two teams are scheduled to have a go at it, one more time. With each team having won the World Title once, this year’s championship promises to be a decisive “battle” for each. Having good friends on both teams, and being a writer for Guns and Shooting Online, I have mixed emotions about this upcoming match.
Both teams have incredibly talented shooters, and their equipment will be the best that is available anywhere in the world. I wish that I could be there to watch and personally cover the event, but given the present recession across the planet, I will have to pass and get my information via email as it unfolds.
The selection of the 2009 South African Protea team was quite a challenge, as there are stacks of superb shooters down there. However, after qualifying scores were tallied and cross checked against availability, the team was selected. Their green blazers with a distinctive crest will definitely set them apart from the other international teams. The following is the “official team picture”, missing due to circumstances beyond his control was Kallie Witthaus, so I inserted a file photo of him. (Sorry, old friend, that I didn’t catch you in the blazer.)
Chris Venter, Chris van Niekerk, Jannie Els (captain), Hendrik van der Linden (coach), Carel Taljaard (coach)
Back Row Standing (left to right) Anthony Dau, Francois van der Merwe, Stehan Kleynhans, Rhynier Burger, Cherryll van Niekerk, Alexander Coetzee (coach), Frans Snyman, Jannie Kruger, Ian Potgieter (Absent: Cedric van der Vyver, Team Manager)
The South African Protea team is one of the most eclectic teams ever assembled. Most are self-employed or retired from an assortment of businesses. Following is a brief description of their occupations:
What will make the world championships even more interesting is the fact that the US team will be shooting the 6.5mm-284 with 139 -142 grain bullets. The defending World Champions will be using their “thunder guns”, the 7mm-284, which pushes 168 -180 grain bullets. With all the guns generating muzzle velocities of around 3,000 fps, the contest will be primarily a test of the shooters, rather than the two calibers. The contest will be held over 700-1000 yards on a V-bull (X-ring) only 5 inches in diameter.
All of the above said, the World Championships promise to be very, very interesting because, the Irish, British and Germans would like to surprise both the Americans and South Africans and claim the title for themselves. Like I said, the Bisley 2009 shoot promises to be an exciting event. The scheduled dates are 27-28 July 2009 for the individual championship and 29-30 July 2009 for the team matches. If you can work it into your vacation plans, I suggest you include it on your itinerary, you won’t regret it.
Copyright 2009 by Jim Clary. All rights reserved.