Shooting: "Where do I check in my gun please?"

LONDON Wed Aug 1, 2012 6:40am EDT

Czech Republic's Jakub Tomecek takes aim during the skeet men's qualification round at the Royal Artillery Barracks during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 30, 2012. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Czech Republic's Jakub Tomecek takes aim during the skeet men's qualification round at the Royal Artillery Barracks during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

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LONDON (Reuters) - Usain Bolt remembered his running spikes and vest, Michael Phelps had no trouble with his goggles and trunks but, for world class shooters at the London Olympics, packing isn't so easy.

A heap of paperwork is required at gun clubs and airports and a special license is needed to bring a weapon to London.

Shooters are often the first to check-in for flights.

"At the airport we must give our guns to the police and the next time we see the guns are on the range because there is a big security issue because of terrorism," Czech skeet shooter Jakub Tomecek told Reuters, his gun slung over his shoulders.

Anyone who has flown to a city to find their bags didn't make it will understand the state Olympic shooters get in to.

A competition shotgun is not something you'd want to lose. The young Czech's gun cost about 12,000 euros ($14,800) and it also takes some time to get used to a new weapon.

"I have only one gun, you must have the gun for two years and after this time it will be perfect for you," he said.

Shotguns have gone missing before.

"Sometimes they are lost," Spain's Juan Jose Aramburu said. "But normally they aren't lost as this is a gun and if they lost it, it would be a big problem for the airports."

Once the guns arrived in London, they were taken to the armory at the Royal Artillery Barracks and locked in steel cases. The shooters can only access them during events.

After competition, the shooters leave their guns and return to the Olympic Village where Bolt, Phelps and others enjoy the freedom of having all their equipment in their rooms.

"My gun is like any other luggage," Aramburu reasons.

But, like equestrian riders and pole vaulters, this is simply not the case. ($1 = 0.8120 euros)

(Editing by Matt Falloon)

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