ISSF: Upto IOC to decide on shooting events in Olympics

Sticking to the healthy proportion of five rifle, five pistol and five shotgun events, the ISSF has sought to have six events for men, six for women and three mixed events.

Sticking to the healthy proportion of five rifle, five pistol and five shotgun events, the ISSF has sought to have six events for men, six for women and three mixed events.   -  AP

The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) is all set to put the gun on IOC’s shoulder, figuratively speaking, to decide upon the suggestions aimed towards achieving 50 per cent female participation in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The ISSF, which is having its administrative and executive committee meetings in the Capital on the eve of the first World Cup of the season, has already dealt with the matter in detail, taking into consideration the views of all the stake holders.

Sticking to the healthy proportion of five rifle, five pistol and five shotgun events, the ISSF has sought to have six events for men, six for women and three mixed events. The three mixed events have been decided on the basis of various studies, including the IOC event-based popularity analysis for the Rio Games.

The mixed events will be in air pistol, air rifle and trap.

It may sound like a repetition of events, as there will be individual events in all the three for men and women. Some interesting events like men’s 50-metre free pistol, 50-metre rifle prone and the double trap events will be scraped, much to the anguish of those practising them.

“The new events fully support gender equality and have far greater possibilities for being practised by all (160) ISSF member federations and attracting far more athletes,” the ISSF observed in a statement.

The 25-metre rapid fire pistol was also considered for elimination, but escaped as it was deemed “dynamic and has one of shooting’s best finals”. It was argued that the 50-metre pistol athletes can still apply their skills in 10-metre air pistol.

“In shotgun, double trap men was selected for replacement because it is the lowest participation men’s shotgun event,” it was noted.

After considering dozens of possibilities for mixed-gender events, the final selection was based on which events offered “most favourable universality, cost, and accessibility, youth appeal and attractiveness for media and television.”

Moreover, the 50-metre prone mixed event was considered, but was dropped as it was viewed to “have far less potential for future shooting growth than a 10-metre air rifle team event.”

The ISSF has categorically stated that it does not have the authority to change any event in the Olympic program and it was the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive board that had the power to decide on the subject.

Thus, the ISSF Executive Committee would only be submitting its recommendations to IOC before the February 28 deadline.

The IOC’s analysis of worldwide television viewership, internet user statistics, social media contents, spectator responses and public opinions for all Olympic events, including the 15 shooting events, matched the ISSF study, leading to the recommendations.

“The Olympic program has always been a dynamic program where changes are necessary for sports to keep their place in the Olympic Movement. Shooting had to delete two events in 2005, but it continued to grow in worldwide popularity. The three mixed-gender team events add value to shooting’s most popular and fastest growing events, air rifle, air pistol and trap,” the ISSF remarked.

The IOC will decide the 2020 Olympic shooting events later this summer.