Mirco Cenci, technical director at the Italian Shooting Federation, said plans by the International Shooting Sport Federation to omit the men’s double trap shoot from the Tokyo 2020 Games will end the Olympic dream of small countries like Malta.

Cenci has been one of the most vocal campaigners in a broad fight across the globe to convince the top brass at the ISSF to, at least, introduce mixed gender double trap in Tokyo and not omit the discipline altogether by replacing it with a mixed trap event.

Voting on the issue will be held at an important ISSF meeting in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday.

Double trap shooter William Chetcuti (left) and coach Jimmy Bugeja.Double trap shooter William Chetcuti (left) and coach Jimmy Bugeja.

The Italian shooting fraternity has always enjoyed a close rapport with their Maltese counterparts. Cenci, in particular, has good knowledge of the qualities of William Chetcuti, Nathan Lee Xuereb and the upcoming Gianluca Chetcuti and he reckons our chances of success at the Olympics will be less than slim if double trap is axed completely from the 2020 programme.

Cenci said: “In William Chetcuti and Nathan Lee Xuereb, the Maltese federation can rely on two highly-talented double trap marksmen. We’ve seen them in action at different venues last year and both made the country proud with some outstanding performances.

“Young Gianluca is also one to watch for the future.

“I think Malta really stands a good chance of success at the next Olympics in double trap but if the event is not held at all, the Maltese federation’s hopes and investment will go up in smoke and that would be a real shame.”

Cenci, a former double trap competitor himself, confirmed that at first the ISSF Athletes Commission were mulling over a new double trap mixed gender competition. But then they took a different approach.

“In 2015, the Athletes Commission had proposed a mixed gender competition,” Cenci explained.

Today, they want to do away with double trap... tomorrow it could be the turn of skeet

“But, surprisingly, in November last year someone at the ISSF overruled that 2015 proposal and decided to introduce a mixed trap competition.

“No-one was advised about it and no-one was even consulted about it. Moreover, double trap shooters were not even granted a concession to adopt the changes required and guarantee their future in the sport.

“No-one knows why the ISSF  had changed its position so quickly over this issue.

“How is it possibly that in a single meeting they decide to cancel an Olympic Games event and, worse than that, end the career of several shooters who always respected the values of fair play and ISSF regulations?

“It’s disappointing. Whoever is responsible for all this didn’t take into consideration the careers of several keen double trap shooters across the globe.”

The Italian federation knows they will have to adapt to the situation but they’re trying one last shot. This weekend, they are hosting a first ever mixed double trap competition at the Winter Championships in Lodi.

“In just 15 days we managed to attract 30 teams to compete in the new double trap event in Lodi,” Cenci said.

“That’s a clear sign that introducing a mixed competition for double trap instead of the one for men only could also be a good option. That way double trap remains in the Olympic fold while more women shooters could be attracted to clay shooting.”

Cenci fears that if double trap is left out from the 2020 Games programme it would mark the beginning of the end for the sport in general at the Olympics.

“Today, they want to do away with double trap and tomorrow it could be the turn of skeet.

“Most of us are now believing  that they want to remove clay shooting completely and replace it with other events.

“We hope that won’t be the case. Indeed, that would be a scenario none of us want.”

ISSF on gender equality...

The challenges posed by the IOC’s Agenda 2020 programme will have far reaching effects for the future of sport shooting.

These challenges will see (governing body) ISSF having to move to gender equality in both the number of events and in the number of quotas at the request of the IOC. This task is made more complicated by the expressed desire within the Agenda 2020 programme to see the introduction of mixed gender team events.

The ISSF is one of only seven international federations that currently do not have either equal events or equal quotas for men and women. It is essential that for Tokyo 2020, the ISSF must move to compliance in gender equality.

At the recent ISSF Section Committee meetings in Munich, we received an update on the IOC’s event evaluation process and an insight from IOC member Danka Bartekova, as to the IOC’s determination to achieve Agenda 2020’s gender equality goal for the Tokyo games.

A vote was held to decide the recommendation of the Coach Advisory Committee. The result of the vote was to recommend to the Ad-Hoc Committee the replacement of 50m rifle prone men with a 10m air rifle mixed gender team event, the replacement of 50m pistol men with a 10m air pistol mixed gender team event and the replacement of double trap men with a trap mixed gender team event.

Our recommendations are based on what we believe to be the best way to ensure that the sport of shooting remains a strong and vibrant member of the Olympic movement .

Note: These are excerpts from Kevin Kilty’s response to the changes proposed. Kilty is chairman of the Coach Advisory Committee.


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