Olympics-US seeks shotgun boost to give sharpshooters smooth Paris 2024 experience

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Shooting - Mixed 10m Air Rifle Team - Qualification - Asaka Shooting Range, Tokyo, Japan - July 27, 2021. William Shaner of the United States and Alison Weisz of the United States in action REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo

(Reuters) - A gold inlaid Krieghoff shotgun goes under the hammer in Texas this weekend and USA Shooting is hoping for a $150,000 boost to its coffers as it looks to give its shooters the best possible experience at the Paris Olympic Games.

Over 300 shooters will compete in 15 events in Chateauroux, 270 kilometres south of Paris, with the onus on the federations to provide their athletes with some of the comforts traditionally available in the main Olympic Village.

USA Shooting chief executive Kelly Reisdorf told Reuters it was presenting "some logistical challenges" for the sport.

Several shooters will miss the July 26 Opening Ceremony in Paris because they will be competing that day in Chateauroux, while the separate accommodation in the satellite village will mean additional costs for federations.

That is why USA Shooting is hoping for a good return when the engraved shotgun and four-barrel set donated by its partner Rock Island Auction Company goes under the hammer.

"We need this funding to help cover a lot of these logistical expenses so that our athletes can have the most frictionless experience of competing and focus really on what matters," Reisdorf said.

"It's a really special Krieghoff shotgun that is going to be a feather in the cap for any collector.

"If this custom shotgun had to be made today, it has a minimum value of at least $75,000. I'd love it to go for twice that. This is truly a one-of-a-kind collector's piece."

Such revenue generation is crucial for USA Shooting because, unlike many countries, the United States government does not fund the Olympic team.

"The flip side of it is that we're competing against countries that have sort of almost unlimited government budgets," Reisdorf said.

"But when you look at our performance, and how well we perform in relation to the amount of funding ... it's absolutely incredible."

The U.S. won three golds, two silvers and a bronze in Tokyo three years ago but has not topped the medal count in shooting since the 1984 Games on home soil.

With more funding, especially from the government, Reisdorf thinks that could easily change.

"I definitely think that the Olympic movement for the United States could go to the next level with a model that was a mixture of a public-private partnership," she said.

USA Shooting typically operates with an annual budget of $5-8 million, while several shooters have their individual sponsors.

"The funding model acts very much as a driver to innovate through the need for self-sustainment," Reisdorf said.

"It is a scenario that has honed our ability to be resourceful."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Nick Mulvenney and Toby Davis)

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