Confusion continues over Olympic discipline selection procedures

The Olympic-discipline shooters have been left confused following the publication of two conflicting selection procedures.

At the end of January, the funding body for Team GB’s Olympic shooters, British Shooting, released a new shotgun selection policy on its website saying: “British Shooting and the BICTSF have been working in partnership to enhance and evolve the selection policy for GB teams.”

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The link takes you through to a document titled GBR Shotgun Selection Policy 2016, but it does not mention the BICTSF (British International Clay Target Shooting Federation) anywhere in the text, despite the BICTSF being the national governing body of clay shooting for the ISSF and the FITASC disciplines.

The BICTSF website said that a meeting to select squads for forthcoming ISSF events was set to take place on 2 February but an update revealed that the meeting has been adjourned and will be rescheduled. The BICTSF Representative Selectors planned to follow the agreed British Shooting/BICTSF selection process as used in previous years – which leads to confusion over what set of procedures will be used going forward to select the official British squads.

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The new British Shooting document outlines what events will be considered when selecting team members, including the British selection shoots and internationally recognised Grand Prix competitions. However, it also says that other events could be considered as well on a case-by-case basis, which might not be deemed fair if one shooter is selected on their performance at an event that no other British shooters attend: “The Selection Panel may consider other Grand Prix events. Shooters are required to make the Performance Director aware of any Grand Prix performances.”

The original BICTSF process says that selection shoots will form the major component of the process and that the first two shooters in the rankings, based on results from selection shoots, will be selected. The third member of the team is selected “at the discretion” of the panel, which led to several people previously being left off a squad without any clear explanation.

LONATO - SEPTEMBER 14: (L-R) Silver medalist Team of the Russian Federation (Vasily MOSIN, Vitaly FOKEEV, Artem NEKRASOV), Gold medalist Team of Great Britain (Tim KNEALE, Matthew John COWARD-HOLLEY, Matthew FRENCH) and Bronze medalist Team of India (Asab MOHD, Ankur MITTAL, Sangram DAHIYA) pose with their medals after the Double Trap Men Event at the Olympic Shooting Range "Trap Concaverde" during Day 4 of the ISSF World Championship Shotgun on September 14, 2015 in Lonato, Italy. (Photo by Nicolo Zangirolami)

British Shooting takes this one step further in its new process by not guaranteeing any spots to winners of selection shoots or rankings leaders. All three team members would be chosen via multiple barometers: performance in major events over the previous 12 months, performance in the previous four years, performance at Grand Prix events in the previous year, rankings from squad selections, performance trajectory, potential to win in the view of the expert selection panel, and an athlete profile covering responsiveness to coaching, attitude, commitment, progression and performance under pressure.

Ahead of the planned ISSF selection meeting, BICTSF president Peter Croft said he had no comment, but that more information would be made available soon after. British Shooting released a statement that said:“We strive to become the world leading shooting nation and we are doing everything we can to improve the best practices available, and that includes our selection policies.” Yet, since the scheduled meeting, the BICTSF and British Shooting websites have announced that the meeting had been postponed.

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Olympic Trap shooter Sarah Wixey told Clay Shooting: “It is an absolute tragedy that the governing body and the funding body cannot work together and no one is prepared to take responsibility for what is a ridiculous situation. The selection policy may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. At the beginning of a new season, shooters find themselves yet again in no-man’s land.”

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