The Chairman of the ISSF Athletes Committee and 2008 Olympic Champion Abhinav Bindra, released a statement addressing his fellow athletes. Bindra stressed the importance of “looking at the bigger picture” when considering the recommendations for the Tokyo 2020 shooting sport Olympic program, voted by the Athletes Committee and subsequently released by the ISSF Ad Hoc Committee last October 24.
In this post I would like to inform you of the latest developments from the Athletes Committee Meeting which was held in Munich. As all of you are aware that complying with Agenda 2020 is of prime importance in order for us to maintain our strong position within the Olympic Movement.
The IOC is now working with all international federations to achieve 50 percent female participation in the Olympic Games and to stimulate women’s participation and involvement in sport by creating more participation opportunities at the Olympic Games by Tokyo 2020. The IOC encourages the inclusion of mixed gender team events.
Shooting currently has nine men’s events and six women’s events on the Olympic program so major changes are necessary.
The ISSF leadership brought the issue up to the ISSF Athletes Committee way back in 2015 when the newly elected Committee first convened in January 2015. In fact, the Athlete Committee was the first Committee the issue was brought up to. From the very moment this was brought up to us we realized that this was going to be a very challenging situation. In all our reports and posts we continuously encouraged all athletes to read the Agenda 2020 and offer us suggestions and possible solutions to achieve the benchmarks set by the IOC.
In November 2015, the Athletes Committee after much deliberation recommended to the ISSF that we should try and preserve the integrity of the current program and convert the events of 50m Rifle Prone Men, 50m Pistol Men and Double Trap Men into mixed gender team events. This was our stated position to the ISSF Ad Hoc Committee in 2015.
However, this year we were updated of the evaluation process in more details by both the ISSF leadership and by IOC member Ms. Danka Bartekova who is our liaison to the IOC Athletes Committee. Several factors such as universality, sport presentation, grassroots development, sustainability, environmental and cost factors were taken into consideration. The huge success of the 10m Air Mixed Team events at the Youth Olympics was also considered and we were informed of the encouraging response of the IOC towards the mixed events. We were also informed of the details which were needed to be submitted by the ISSF to the IOC such as current participation, event existence, youth participation and accessibility.
Taking into consideration all factors the Athletes Committee had to review our stated position of 2015. This was an immensely difficult and emotional situation for us as we understand the sensitivity of many athletes who would be affected by any decision. We had many deliberations amongst ourselves, ISSF Coaches Committee, and different Section Committees and the ISSF leadership.
The guiding principle was to look at situation in a holistic manner which would be beneficial in long term for the shooting sport in order for us to maintain our presence in the Olympic movement.
We conducted a vote within the Athletes Committee in order for us to come up with our recommendations. The result of the vote was to replace the Double Trap men event to a Mixed Gender Trap event, 50m Prone Men into a Mixed Gender Air Rifle event and 50m Pistol Men into a Mixed Gender Air Pistol event.
We can understand that many athletes would not be satisfied with this. In fact, none of us are and we realize that this is a very difficult scenario. The Athletes Committee requests that everybody should look at the bigger picture and consider the many factors that are important for us to ensure our strong presence within the Olympic movement.
I hope this gives all of you an insight into what went behind coming up with our recommendations and that it was done in the most transparent and democratic fashion.
Chairman, ISSF Athletes Committee