The story of the Shooting Sport Center in Suhl
Since the medieval period, Suhl is known for its arms manufacture. Initially entrusted with forging of spearheads, armor as well as slash- and thrust weapons, from the 16th century the first small arms were produced. For centuries, the manufacture of small arms continued to develop and made Suhl international – especially for its ceremonial weapons. However, no shooting range existed that would satisfy the demands of a city of hunting- and sports weapons.
For this reason, the construction of a facility began in 1968, which fulfills the demands of Olympic shooting ranges and enables to perform top-class, international competitions.
Many Suhl residents participated in the construction of a good 120.000 accrued working hours, many hours were honorary and voluntary.
After a construction period of three years, the shooting sports center was finally able to celebrate the opening in August 1971 in the context of the European Championships in sports shooting and since then enjoys internationally an excellent reputation.
The European championships in 1971 only preluded the start.
Furthermore, in the following years the facility was used for competitions. Apart from small annual competitions, top-class competitions took place in the facility.
For this reason, in 1978 the facility at Suhl Friedberg was once more able to be the host of the European championships.
A highlight in the history of SSZ were the 44th world championships in 1986. 61 nations participated at this competition and for almost 2 weeks with 80.000 visitors, the facility became the pilgrimage sight of many Suhl residents and the surrounding localities. Also during this WC the very first live broadcasting of a shooting sport event took place on television. This made the facility renowned worldwide and ensured, that furthermore big competitions are being held in Suhl.
Over the years, many world cups were contested. Thus in 1992, 2002, 2006 and 2008 big world cups took place with several 100 competitors.
In 2013 the elite of Europe met for the European championships in the sector of shotgun and running target.
In 2014 the world championships for shooters with disabilities took place in this facility.
In the year 2016, the world elite in the field of running target 10m came to the world championships to SSZ.
A yearly highlight since more than 25 years is the biggest international competition in the junior category – the International Junior World Cup – taking place in the SSZ – lead by the SDB and the ISSF. Since years, this competition enjoys increasing popularity. Thus in the year 2018 more than 1500 stars with athletes from more than 50 nations could be recorded.
Since its opening – aside from competitions – the facility serves as trainings- and practice facility for the shooting sport and was able to create over a number of centuries international, successful marksmen.
Here as example just Ralf Schumann should be mentioned. During his active times the multiple Olympic champion used his possibilities that the SSZ offers and is still enjoys being a guest in our facility.
Moreover, the SSZ is the Olympic base for sport shooting of the federal province Thuringia as well as well as national- and federal sports center of the DSB and TSB. Currently more than 50 of the national- and state cadres are assigned to the base and are training right here.
While up to 1989 the facility was available only to cadres, the doors also opened from 1990 for amateur shooters, hunters and the popular sport. Since then the facility is used by different clubs from Suhl and the surrounding region and is venue of the national championships of the Thuringian Rifle Association, the German Championship of the DSB in COMPAK® and the German Championship of the BDS in the shotgun sector.
Over the years changes happened in the SSZ. Thus throughout the 70’s the multipurpose hall was established. In preparation of the WC in 1986 additional buildings were added, that subsequently served as quarters for the cadres and today are available as rooms of the “Guesthouse Suhl” for athletes and guests.
In the beginning of the 90’s in the sector of the former 300m range an underground range emerged for the large caliber shooting.
Between 1997 and 1999, both the sporting area and the main building were renovated. In this connection in the entrance area of the main building, a closed access area with associated reception was created. Also the multipurpose hall and the 50m range received a refurbishment. Both facilities were re-designed and brought up to date.
1999 a formal inauguration of the redesigned facilities took place, for which the multipurpose hall received the name “Erich-Krempel-Hall” in memory of Erich Krempel, the Olympic 2nd of 1936 and world champion of 1939.
2006 the SSZ was again the venue of a world cup in the sector of shotgun. In the run-up to this competition all ranges were provided with new machines and computer technology.
2010/2011 the 25m range received a modernization and on 31.04.2011, a ceremonial handover took place.
Even if major enhancements lie back some time, it is necessary to keep all facilities always up to date in order to be permitted and able to continue to hold international competitions.
A big change occurred in 2016.
In October 2016 the Shooting Sports Center Suhl (SSZ) GmbH. was founded.
The facility that had been under the administration of the City of Suhl was passed over to the Shooting Sports Center Suhl (SSZ) GmbH and since then is operated by the Shooting Sports Center Suhl (SSZ) GmbH.
Approximately 14 employees look after the facilities, the shooting operation, the food supply and the guesthouse.