Shooting will be first gold medal at 2020 Olympics

Could Tokyo 2020’s first gold be awarded to a British shooter? (Photo by Nicolo Zangirolami)

The event schedule for next year’s Tokyo Olympics has been revealed, with confirmation that shooting will once again provide the Games’ very first gold medallist.

This will be the winner of the women’s 10-metre air rifle, to be staged at the Asaka shooting range on 25 July 2020 – the day after the opening ceremony.

The 10-metre men’s air pistol will be decided on the same day. At the last Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, a similar timetable applied, with Virginia Thrasher taking the first gold medal of the Games in the air rifle event for the United States, before Hoàng Xuân Vinh won Vietnam’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in the air pistol.

Since it will be the first medals ceremony of the Tokyo Games, there seems every chance that International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach will be on hand to present Thrasher’s successor with her medal.

Shotgun events will get under way the following day – 26 July – with men’s and women’s skeet qualification. Both skeet finals will come on 27 July, with the medals for individual trap due to be decided on July 30. The new mixed trap team event will take place on August 1.

It was the trap discipline that provided Great Britain’s medal success at Rio 2016, with Edward Ling taking bronze in the men’s event and Steven Scott also winning bronze in the now discontinued double trap.

With the Tokyo Games set to feature as many as 339 events, up from 306 in Rio, competition for places on the schedule at the next Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024 is set to be intense, with TV viewership and streaming/social media numbers likely to play a key part in determining which events make the cut.

The average minute of shooting coverage from Rio was seen by just over 48 million viewers, which put it well above the rating for the average sport, which stood at just under 41 million. That opening event – the women’s 10-metre air rifle – was the highest rated shooting event in 2016, with women’s Trap the lowest rated.

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