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Article 9 – 2017 (October)

person aiming shotgun at target range

Russell Mark

Australian Shooter Magazine, Question and Answers

Article 9 – 2017 (October)


Question: Is there any news regarding the possible inclusion of a Sporting Clays event in the Olympic Games now that Double Trap has been abolished? I would think with the increased popularity of this discipline world wide this may be a chance? Are their any major changes to the Shooting sports from what you are aware?

Ken McIntosh, Ascot Vale VIC


Answer: I would think at this very moment the chances of another Shooting discipline being added to the Olympic program are as probable as me winning Tattslotto next weekend. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are constantly looking at ways to keep numbers participating in their current events on the Olympic program to a minimum therefore keeping the overall cost of the Olympics down whilst providing a mechanism to introduce more television friendly sports thus increasing media income.

There is no better example of this than the recent axing of the three Shooting events from the Tokyo Games in 2020. As you have correctly stated Double Trap has been axed despite this event being a very television “friendly” event due to the ease the two clay targets can be filmed in a reasonably close frame of vision. The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) had pressure put on them by the IOC to have more gender equality within their events so Free Pistol and Prone Rifle have all been culled also as these matches were male only at Olympic level.

You could say that the IOC are somewhat hypocritical in their guidelines as I notice Synchronized Swimming and Rhythmic Gymnastics, both female only events, are still on the Olympic program.

By far the biggest concern as a shooter that I can see of recent times has been a directive from the IOC in February 2016 to the ISSF to further investigate the development of a laser shooting discipline for the future. As you may already be aware the Modern Pentathlon event (one of the Olympic Games most traditional events) has banned the use of a standard pistol firing a projectile and now uses a laser pistol. The event has flourished since the traditional firearm was replaced in 2011 largely due to the fact that the 10 metre pistol range can be located right beside the running track which sets the event up for an exciting finish in front of a grand stand full tens of thousands of spectators. Australian Chloe Esposito famously won this event at the Rio Olympics last year largely because of her excellent background as a top class marksman and it was on the shooting range that made up an enormous amount of time before her final sprint to the finish line.

Ultimately the IOC want a growing television audience so the new Pentathlon rules certainly helped create an exciting sporting event, but the use of laser pistols also relieves the huge burden of the mountain of paperwork and red tape that is required to even gain entry to many countries when trying to import a firearm. Some nations like England of course make the task of competing with a handgun virtually impossible unless it is for special events like the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. The IOC would see the use of laser pistols as a major way around that issue. You can guarantee that there would be several manufacturers already well down the road in preparing completion laser rifles and maybe even shotguns for the purpose of international competition as a result of the IOC’s satisfaction from the success of Pentathlon. Personally I think that this would be the saddest day for our sport, but many may say it is the only hope for the long-term survival of Shooting as an Olympic sport. That is a topic for another day.

In answer to your question specifically about the introduction of Sporting Clays as a future Clay Target event I would think there is now no chance of this happening at Olympic level. The ISSF are trialling a mixed gender event for Trap with the intention of adding the same for Skeet. World Cup events in this will commence officially next year.

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