On Saturday, the mixed gender 10m air rifle event will be tested for the first time after the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) decided to change the events for the Olympics. And though there will be a final, the medal won in his category won’t officially counted. Here are the event changes in shooting explained:
What are the changes made to shooting’s Olympic programme?
The ISSF’s ad-hoc committee has recommended scrapping men’s double trap, 50m rifle prone and 50m pistol events and replacing them with mixed-gender team events in 10m air rifle, 10m air pistol and trapping. The proposal will be forwarded to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who had set a February 28 deadline for all international federations to submit their program proposals. The IOC executive board will ratify the changes later this year.
Was the change necessary?
To remain in sync with the IOC’s gender equality programme for the 2020 Olympics, all federations were urged to alter their events. Shooting had nine men’s events and only six for the women. With IOC pressing to have equal events for both men and women, the ISSF had little choice but to introduce the change.
What factors were considered while scrapping 50m rifle prone, 50m pistol and double trap events?
Shooting has three disciplines – rifle, pistol and shotgun. The ISSF had five events in each of these disciplines, three for men and two women. So the decision to scrap one men’s event each was an easy one. However, the process to decide which one was complicated. The ISSF said 10m air rifle and 50m 3-position events were more preferable to prone. In pistol, the world body believed the Rapid Fire was dynamic and has ‘one of the best finals’. They concluded that skills needed for 50m pistol could be applied in 10m pistol, which requires a range similar to 10m air rifle, hence making it cheap. Thus, 50m pistol was omitted. The ISSF scrapped double trap because it had the lowest participation in shotgun events.
Was the decision unanimous?
No. There were plenty of protests in the form of online petitions and open letters. Italy, it is believed, voted against the changes.
What were the main arguments in favour of keeping these events?
The 50m pistol, also called free pistol, is the oldest event and has been in the programme since the first Olympics. They call it the Test match of shooting for the level of skills and patience required in it.
What factors were considered in selecting the mixed-gender events?
The ISSF took into account factors such as universality of an event, cost, youth appeal and TV appeal while choosing events for mixed gender.