Faroe Islands has become an associate member of the ISSF ©Getty Images

The Faroese Shooting Federation has become an associate member of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF).

It means the ISSF has become the 12th International Federation to recognise the Faroe Islands.

Athletes will be able to represent the Faroe Islands in international shooting events up to and including World Championship level, rather than competing under the Danish flag.

"This really is fantastic news for the development of sport shooting on the Faroe Islands and I would like to thank the ISSF for welcoming us into their family," said Esmar Joensen, President of Faroese Shooting Federation.

"The prospect of our athletes now being able to compete in international events will not just inspire them, it will also provide crucial high-level competition experience.

"The positive impact of gaining membership of the ISSF cannot be underestimated and our sport shooting community is absolutely thrilled by this news."

The recognition has been welcomed by the Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committee (FCSOC), which has been campaigning for recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The FCSOC says the ISSF follows the IFs of archery, badminton, darts, football, handball, judo, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and volleyball in recognising the Faroe Islands.

The Faroe Islands is also a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee and has competed in every Paralympic Summer Games since 1984.

The European Olympic Committees last year permitted the Faroe Islands to compete at the European Games in sports where it has IF recognition, but stopped short of giving full recognition.

"Gaining membership of the International Shooting Sport Federation is another important milestone in our ambition to grow our international sporting recognition," said Jon Hestoy, FCSOC vice-president.

"It is great news for the longer-term development of sport shooting across our islands and is timely given that we are building a new shooting facility.

"There are now 12 IFs that recognise the Faroe Islands, which means our athletes can compete up to World Championship level as Faroese athletes.

"In sports as diverse as rowing, handball, swimming and football, the Faroe Islands has shown that it can make its mark in international sport.

"We are actively pursuing membership of several other IFs and our ambition to one day compete in the Olympic Games very much remains our dream."

The Faroe Islands, a self-governing region of Denmark since 1948, has stepped up their efforts for Olympic inclusion in recent years.

Their case has been hindered, however, by an Olympic Charter change in 1996 which rules that National Olympic Committee recognition can "only be granted after recognition as an independent state by the international community".

Other territories which are not independent states, such as Puerto Rico, do compete at the Olympics, however.

The FCSOC campaign has received backing from Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden.