Multiple World Championships medallist Peter Sidi of Hungary said that the method adopted to achieve gender equality in shooting at the expense of popular events such as rifle prone was akin to committing a “suicide”.
He also said that the stakeholders were “killing” the history of the Olympic movement by adhering to this recommendation.
Five-time Olympian Sidi, a gold medallist at the 2010 World Championships, was forthright when asked for his opinion on the International Shooting Sport Federation unanimously approving the recommendation for the 2020 Olympic programme that aims to achieve gender equality and retain 15 Olympic events.
“This is like committing a suicide, prone is one of the most popular events in shooting and we are doing away with it. The father of modern Olympics (Baron Pierre de) Coubertin was a free pistol shooter, so we are also killing the spirit of Olympics, with no regard to history,” Sidi, who finished fifth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said.
If the recommendations are approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the double trap men’s event will be replaced with a trap mixed gender team event, the 50m rifle prone men’s event with a 10m air rifle mixed gender team event and the 50m pistol men’s event with a 10m air pistol mixed gender team event. This proposal was developed to preserve discipline parity and retain 15 Olympic shooting events — 5 Rifle, 5 Pistol, 5 Shotgun.
The mixed events are being used on a trial basis at the ongoing ISSF World Cup in the capital.
“It is just a game right now, not serious. It’s a beginning. It’s also boring for the spectators as shooters are not engaged in a face-to-face competition. It should be held phase by phase, not together, he said.
Sidi, who is competing in the ongoing World Cup, called for changes in the rules to make the sport more attractive.
“Make it easier, simplify the rules. It should not be boring for the spectators,” he said at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range, adding that the qualifying and final can be similar to athletics’ 100m and 200m events.
Simply saying, he prefers a knockout system in the eight-man final with eighth participant taking on the seventh, the sixth facing off the fifth and so on.
It’s the second time in the country for the 38-year-old Sidi and he felt Indian shooters are only getting better with time. He also mentioned Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang a good friend.
“India has got a lot of talent as far as shooting is concerned, and you have a very good base for the future. The range is very nice and it is good enough to host a World Championships in the future,” said Sidi, in whose country shooting is considered the seventh most popular sport. “But in India it’s pretty popular, maybe like the NBA is in the US.”