A day spent in the Sussex countryside courtesy of an article for yesterday’s Observer, followed by a chance meeting with a high ranking Olympic official, have brought me briefly in touch with the intriguing world of Olympic shooting. Here’s five observations:
1. The three disciplines of pistol, rifle and shotgun don’t always get on very well.
2. Allowing pistol shooting to take place in the London Olympics despite it being illegal in mainland Britain means that either our gun laws or the International Olympic Committee are stupid.
3. The cut in funding given to shooting following Beijing was disproportionate – the sport appears to be under threat by the back door. Either shooting as a sport is not acceptable in our country and should be banned, or it is acceptable and should be treated with equity to other sport. (Some stats to bang on about – shooting is receiving £1.225m for London 2012; gymnastics will be given £10.3m, archery £4.5m; and synchronised swimming has a budget of £3.46m).
4. The venue for the Olympic shooting events is not as certain as the London 2010 website suggests. The Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich remains the official site, but costs and legacy issues remain a major concern. Fans of Bisley have been lobbying hard to move the events there, but whispers about a move to Barking continue. In the next couple of months there’s likely to be plenty more arguing and maybe some more resignations.
5. I’m not very good at shooting. Will add to the list.