For the first time since 1970 sports shooting will be excluded from the Commonwealth Games. Last week the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive, David Grevemberg, confirmed suspicions that shooters were being given the snub for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“Shooting is a thrilling sport with a proud and longstanding heritage at the Commonwealth Games. We understand that there will be disappointment when an optional sport is not chosen and especially so when a particular country has enjoyed medal success in this sport historically,” said Mr Grevemberg.
When selecting what sports will be included in a Commonwealth Games, the host city is given a list of compulsory events and a list of optional sports and disciplines from which to choose. Some of the compulsory sports that they must include are swimming, athletics, lawn bowls and badminton.
Shooting was on this list of compulsory sports until 2015 when at the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly it was moved to the optional sports list. The optional sports that are likely to be included by Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 organisers include archery, gymnastics (rhythmic), diving, basketball 3×3 and track cycling.
A major reason for not selecting shooting is supposedly due to a lack of appropriate facilities near the host city. Bisley Shooting Ground in Surrey, which was the site for the shooting during the Manchester 2002 Games, is 130 miles away. However, the organisers are planning on including track cycling at a velodrome in London, Lee Valley VeloPark, which is 135 miles in distance from the host city of Birmingham. At this point it’s unclear why an exception can be made for track cycling but not the shooting events, despite the velodrome being a further five miles away from Birmingham.
Shooters, both athletes and spectators from all over the Commonwealth, have been angered by the exclusion of our sport. Laetisha Scanlan, who won gold in the Women’s Trap at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, said she was shocked and surprised that shooting was being dropped given that the sport was flourishing in England. British Shooting has also expressed its disappointment and is scrambling to ensure shooting is represented.
SSAA National CEO Tim Bannister recommends SSAA members sign this petition to show their disappointment in shooting being dropped from the Commonwealth Games. “Fortunately time is on our side and we will be working with our British counterparts to get to the bottom of this decision,” he said.