It seems the Commonwealth Games are following in the anti-gun foot steps of the Olympics with this latest move:
“Olympic shooting gold medallist Catherine Skinner fears for the future of her sport after it was left off the program for the 2022 Commonwealth Games by new host city Birmingham. The replacement Games host (Birmingham stepped in after the Games were stripped from Durban in South Africa earlier this year) has decided to drop shooting, removing it from the program for the first time since 1970.
Skinner, 27, said she suspected the decision was a backlash against the sport. “Britain already has very restrictive gun laws so I’m not surprised by it but I am disappointed,’’ she said.
“I think there’s been a bit of a cultural change there about shooting, which is a pity, because we have been at the Olympics since the very beginning and there’s nothing illegal about it, but people keep trying to push it out. “I think shooting sports are under threat. In the court of public opinion it’s tough to have to defend yourself when people associate guns with criminal activity. I hope it’s a blip and not a sign of things to come.’’
Commonwealth trap champion Laetisha Scanlan is similarly dismayed to realise that the Gold Coast event in April could be her last chance to compete at the Games.“I was very, very shocked (to hear the news),’’ the 27-year-old Victorian said. “It’s really, really surprising that it’s going to be taken out, especially in a country where the sport is flourishing. They are mad to take it out.’’
Shooting Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia have now banded together with the International Shooting Sport Federation to protest against the decision and campaign for shooting to be added to the program. Shooting Australian chief executive Damian Marangon said they would do everything in their power to get the Birmingham organisers to reverse the decision. “It’s disappointing for the sport but it’s also disappointing for Australia because we won six (of Australia’s 49) gold medals in Glasgow,’’ he said.
“But we’re not giving up yet. We’re going to continue to do everything we can with the international federation. This will hurt the Commonwealth Games because the sport of shooting rates very highly on universality and that’s the bigger issue. There are some countries that only send shooters to the Games so they may not participate at all.’’
CGA spokesman Jonathon Monasso confirmed yesterday that the organisation was disappointed by the decision “but hopeful that it can still be included’’. “They are a core sport for us, they are incredibly important to us, and there will be a number of other associations that will also be disappointed, like India and some of the Pacific island nations.’’
Commonwealth Games hosts are required to have 10 mandatory sports (including athletics, swimming, hockey and badminton) but then have a choice of seven sports from an optional list that includes shooting.
Birmingham’s initial list of seven sports comprises cycling, judo, table tennis, wrestling, gymnastics, diving and 3×3 basketball. The Commonwealth’s largest nation India has won more than a third of its medals in shooting so Birmingham can expect some heavyweight opposition to its plans from the subcontinent.
The “lack of facilities” excuse appears to be nothing more than a cover, considering numerous Olympics/Commonwealth Games have staged events outside their host city over the years.
This latest incident is part of an overall global gun control move, to attempt to kill off shooting culture by eliminating sports shooting. We’ve already seen it at the Olympics, with the dropping of some shooting events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and some shooting events already using laser “firearms” instead of the real deal.
Now, our sporting shooters and medal winners are absolute legends and always will be in our eyes, make no mistake. Unfortunately, the catch cry of some of those in the sports shooting fraternity here in Australia for the past 20 years has been “we don’t want to get political.”
And, aside from some organisations being beholden to government grant money (essentially a form of gun control) that is exactly the problem. As others have already written about, the old saying rings true here – even if you don’t like politics, politics will eventually choose you. We don’t like politics either but shooting is unfortunately an unnecessarily political pastime in Australia because it has been deliberately made so.
Sure, there are many in the sports shooting community that are politically aware and active and to those people we say, more power to you and keep doing what you’re doing. To the rest, particularly those sitting among the larger sport shooting organisations in this country – apolitical attitudes will be the end of your sport.
Without sounding like a broken record, this is exactly what happened in 1996 – disciplines didn’t support each other, self-interest and apathy formed, egos collided, fractures developed and thousands of good people suffered.
To infamously paraphrase George W Bush – an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us and until that is understood and accepted, then no progress will be made. If Australian sports shooters and representative organisations want to sit on the political sidelines, then you’ll end up being a spectator with no sport to compete in.
Many of us long for a return to the pre-1996 days where we generally left alone. However monumentally difficult a task that appears to be, it can be done but only, and only if, those involved in the community work towards it because quite frankly no-one else is going to do it for you.
Indeed, the Olympics and Commonwealth Games have always been political events and in the past few years they’ve become a blatant exercise in social engineering and political correctness. By extension, firearms seem to be at the top of the list.
With that in mind, if we are to produce the Catherine Skinners’ of the future we need to preserve those in the here and now. The only way to do that is to get involved and stand your ground.
And there’s plenty of room for those willing to fight.Olympic Games