Anita North explains what it will take to get Britain’s athletes into the running for Tokyo 2020.
I’m really looking forward to the competition season ahead. This year is an important year in the international scene – it’s the big year of the race to secure places in the shooting events for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
That means quota places! Like many sports, shooting in the Olympic Games is based on quota places (along with some minimum performance standards). Qualification tickets to the Games are awarded to athletes who achieve the best results during designated qualification competitions, which include world, continental and regional championships, as well as various other international events in the two or three years leading up to the Olympic Games.
There are a limited number of these places available, and a cap on the number of competitors from each country. The process of organising the allocation process is handled by shooting’s international federation – the ISSF.
An athlete who secures a quota place is not automatically qualified for the Olympics. Quota places are earned by individual athletes, but they are owned by those athletes’ countries. Each country is free to decide how to use the quota places won by its athletes, but whoever they select must have achieved the performance standard (MQS) in the current Olympic cycle.
Some do have a policy of awarding quota places to the athletes that won them, but others hold selection trials or layout a selection procedure for the Olympic Games. While most quota places that countries award are those that are won by their athletes, countries are allowed to make a certain number of swaps and exchanges of quota places, and there can also be applications for ‘wild cards’ – for example from countries that feel there is a hardship case.
In addition to the quota places awarded by countries, there is also an International Olympic Committee scheme that awards two quota places per event. A new policy means that a quota place will also be allocated based on World Ranking, so fingers crossed that GB also has athletes high up in the ISSF World Rankings.
The first of the quota places for Tokyo Olympics were decided at the CAT Games and World Championships last year. Great Britain has already secured a presence in the rifle shooting; Seonaid McIntosh won a quota place in the 50m Rifle Three Positions Women.
But Kirsty Barr and Aaron Heading narrowly missed out on gaining GB’s first shotgun quota place when they won a Bronze medal in the new Trap Mixed Team event.
With the current international calendar there is never a significant rest period. I am writing this article on the cusp of Christmas, and I’ve just read posts from GB shooters who are still training hard in Larnaca, Cyprus.
March will see the first of the international matches for shotgun events with a world cup in Acapulco. The next event after that will be a world cup in Al Ain, UAE in April. GB teams have been selected and announced and preparation is ongoing.
I’m looking forward to watching finals when they are streamed on the internet – if you want to watch as well then you should check out the ISSF website, where you’ll find links to live results and video streaming.
The level of competition is fierce, but GB will have selected some great shooters already, and there are more in contention who will be looking to get selected for events later in the year. I wish the GB shooters competing in Mexico and UAE the very best – go get ‘em folks. Be the best that you can be!
So go on readers, get behind the GB shooters as they seek to ensure GB has as many medal contenders in Tokyo in 2020 as possible. In addition, whatever you have planned for the 2019 competition season, train well and the results will happen.
Most importantly, enjoy your shooting!