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Article 10 – 2021 (November)

Australian Shooter Magazine

Question and Answers

Article 10 – 2021 (November)

Question: I just received my September copy of Australian Shooter and to be blatant I was taken back by your criticism of our Olympic Shooting Team’s effort in Tokyo. I believe you should acknowledge just making the team in the covid ridden world we live in now is an amazing effort. I think your opinions about the results of Pistol and Rifle compared to Shotgun may be a little bias. I know some of these athletes quite well and I doubt you actually understand how hard it is to be competitive internationally at Pistol and Rifle.

Name and address withheld


Answer:    So, there you go. After competing internationally for thirty years I never knew that competing in Shotgun was easier than it is for Pistol and Rifle shooters. Go figure!

I think your comment that being competitive internationally at Rifle or Pistol is harder than it is at Shotgun actually shows your lack of knowledge in the sport. What makes being a competitive clay target shooting easier for them? Is there any logic or fact to actually back that statement up?

First of all, you need to go back and have a closer read of that article. My concern is that over the past two decades only one competitor in either Rifle or Pistol has made a final at the Olympic Games despite having millions of dollars in tax-payer’s funds spent on them. I question is this the competitor’s fault or the administrators fault? I also pose the question, “do the governing bodies of Pistol and Rifle need to take back control of their sport?”

Australia is now down to only a small handful of genuine internationally world class shooting competitors across all three disciplines and at this point in time they are all clay target shooters. If that sounds a little bias then I apologize, but that statement is backed up by the results on the “Athlete’s page” on the International Shooting Sports website. I acknowledge that Australia, being plunged into covid lockdowns, didn’t help our chances in Tokyo, but again, why did the Swimmers do so well? Why did Australia as a country finish so high up on the medal tally yet so many of our shooters finished with a bottom half of the field placing? We are better than that. We were. We should be again.

My greatest concern is that the international selection policies of Australian Shooting Teams are now being run totally outside of the National bodies. Is this good or bad? Are Pistol and Rifle happy that only one of their athletes has made an Olympic Final in twenty years? If they are then they should hang their heads in shame.

I was lucky enough to compete in the “golden years” of our Shotgun team here in Australia where a large group of clay target shooters in the 1990’s moved collectively forward internationally because we had a huge base of competitors to choose from. The competition just to make the Australian Team became so intense that if you were eventually good enough to make the team you were more than capable to compete successfully on the international stage. Success breeds success.

Why did we have such an enormous talent pool to choose from? Because we had a simple un-obstructive National Selection Policy that everyone could see a clear, inexpensive and un-bias pathway into the National Team. Everyone felt they were on a level playing field therefore large amounts of very good domestic shooters tried their hand at the international disciplines in the hope of representing their country. In short, if they hit the most targets at the National Trials they went overseas. Just like Swimming Australia do. Guess what sport won the most medals for Australia in Tokyo? Swimming! The USA Shooting Team have the same selection policy as the Australian Swim Team. They dominated the shooting events in Tokyo. Maybe the answers to all these questions are in front of us.

I know most of the Rifle and Pistol Olympic athletes personally. I agree with you that it really is an amazing achievement to make the Olympic Team, but again, my concern isn’t with them its with how the money is being spent on them and second of all why is their so little depth in all of our international shooting disciplines at a time when the Federal Government has never spent more on our sport? With no medals we can’t expect that level of support to continue.

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