Malta’s leading shooter William Chetcuti could not hide his disappointment yesterday following the ISSF decision to remove Double Trap from the Olympic programme in the 2020 Games in Japan.
For the past 15 years, the 31-year-old had established himself as one of the world’s top performers in the discipline, winning two gold medals in World Cup shoots besides podium places at the Commonwealth and Mediterranean Games along with high placings at the more important World and European Championships.
Chetcuti boasts the best position ever for a Maltese sportsman/woman at the Olympics following a creditable eighth place at the 2008 Beijing Games, having just missed on a place in the final by a whisker in 2004 (Athens) and 2012 (London).
“It’s hard to understand how the ISSF came to this conclusion,” Chetcuti told Times of Malta.
“Double Trap shooting was everything for me. Omitting it from the Olympics schedule will pose serious ramifications on my career and those of others.
“For the last 10 years I trained hard to establish myself among the best and do well for my country. I finished 2016 ranked no.5 in the ISSF list.
Double Trap shooting was everything for me. Omitting it from the Olympics schedule will pose serious ramifications on my career and those of others
“Today I looked at shooters like Italian Antonino Barilla who also had high hopes that one day he’ll win an Olympic medal for his country. His dreams, like mine, were taken away from us and it really hurts.”
Chetcuti, however, has no plans to give up on his Olympic ambitions and is looking to switch discipline and earn a slot for Tokyo 2020.
Over the last few weeks he has been practising Trap at Bidnija under the tutelage of long-time coach and mentor Jimmy Bugeja.
However, he knows he needs time to adapt to his new environs and reach a competitive, international level.
“People may think that this is something easy to achieve but it’s not. Trap and Double Trap are different,” the Manikata shooter contended.
“Techniques vary and I also need to change my shotgun. I’ve been trying to adapt to Trap at Bidnija and the scores were satisfactory. However, there is still a long way to go and the competition is tough.
“One positive aspect about Trap is that the participation levels are much higher than Double Trap so that will push me even more to the limit each time I head into the range.”
Chetcuti confirmed he will continue to represent the country in Double Trap this year but holds his reservations on the future of the sport.
“Any sport outside the Olympics will probably not survive long term and that also includes sponsorship deals,” he reckoned.
“As I see things now Double Trap could fall by the wayside if nothing dramatic happens before the next Olympics.”
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