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ISSF vote goes against Double Trap

Double Trap will not figure among the 2020 Tokyo Olympic sports programme following a vote taken by the International Shooting Sport Federation, in New Delhi, on Tuesday.

Top officials from the world governing body assembled in India this week to vote on a document tabled by an ISSF Ad Hoc Committee dealing mainly with the International Olympic Committee strategic roadmap – Agenda 2020.

The IOC project promotes gender equality and long-term planning for potential candidate cities to host the Games.

Double Trap was not the only discipline to lose its Olympic spot, giving way for a mixed gender Trap shoot, as the ISSF also confirmed that two indoor events – the 50 metre Rifle Prone and the 50m Pistol Men – had also been omitted and instead replaced by mixed events for 10m air rifle and 10m air pistol.

The news emerging from India was a huge blow to Malta’s aspirations of finally attaining Olympic glory.

At present, Double Trap represents our best hope of securing a top-three position in an Olympiad through the talents of William Chetcuti, a two-time World Cup winner, world and European junior champion Nathan Lee Xuereb and the upcoming Gianluca Chetcuti.

“It’s very disappointing news for us,” Malta Shooting Sport Federation president Saviour Portelli told Times of Malta.

“Our shooters’ results in Double Trap over the years were very impressive, winning various titles on the international scene and that includes the Commonwealth and Mediterranean Games.

“But it seems that the ISSF wanted to do away with Double Trap at the Olympics on the basis of a low participation rate. We tried to convince them to seek other solutions and we were not alone in this but all our arguments fell on deaf ears.”

The ISSF decision on Double Trap will not affect the Maltese federation’s international competition schedule for the time being.

“We had already finalised our programme for 2017 and we have no plans to apply changes,” Portelli said.

International exposure

“The ISSF has already guaranteed that Double Trap will still feature in World Cups and World and European Championships so we shall continue to dedicate the funds already assigned to give our shooters more international exposure.

“The country will not be represented in the first two World Cup events though – in New Delhi and Mexico. However, there will be a team in Trap, Skeet and Double Trap at the next World Cup shoot in Larnaca at the end of April.”

In June, Double Trap shooters will take part in the San Marino GSSE and they will also participate at the more important European Championships, in Baku, the World Championships in Moscow, and the Commonwealth Championships in Brisbane.

Meanwhile, the ISSF vote inevitably drew a sharp response from other national shooting federations, particularly Italy.

FITAV president Luciano Rossi, the only Executive Committee member to vote against the ISSF proposal in New Delhi, said: “Unfortunately, things didn’t go the way we had hoped for.

“We knew from the beginning that we were facing a very difficult task to convince the others to vote against the proposals. We did our part but the options we suggested were not enough to save Double Trap from the axe.

“This decision was unfair. But, at least, our conscience is clear as we have done our duty… we could not have done more.

“Now, we must seek ways to ensure that the future of shooting is secure and on solid foundations.”

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