'We're not dangerous': Shooters fight for Comm Games future

The future looks bright for Australian shooting.

Not so much for the sport itself.

Dane Sampson, Daniel Repacholi and Laetisha Scanlan could go down in history as the last shooters to win gold for Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Despite being a compulsory sport at the Olympics, shooting has been controversially dropped from the program for Birmingham 2022.

Organisers claim it's due to venue concerns, but insiders see that as a convenient excuse for the Games to bid goodbye to a misunderstood sport that carries undeniable political baggage.

Shooting Australia CEO Damien Marangon said the organisation was "bitterly disappointed" with the decision but was working hard in the background to get it changed.

The International Sport Shooting Federation has tried to shed its conservative image in recent years with a series of rule changes to allow music and crowd noise and a new format designed to generate heightened tension in finals.

Scanlan and Repacholi won gold for Australia. Pic: Getty

It now loosely resembles professional darts in terms of broadcast presentation.

Shooting must continue to trend in that direction to have any hope of clawing back mainstream relevancy.

At the Gold Coast Games, it seemed to work well, with each gold medal decider a lockout.

"The hype of it all, this environment... years ago it was all hush hush. It's certainly changed a lot," retiring pistol shooter David Chapman said.

"Hopefully it becomes a better sport for the media to cover – and society realises that guns aren't dangerous, it's the people involved."

Australia's six shooting gold medals at Glasgow 2014 was considered an over-achievement, so a haul of three with five silvers at Belmont was about as good as could be hoped.

Perhaps more importantly, a handful of promising young prodigies were blooded on the big stage.

Sergei Evglevski, 20, had to be content with silver in the 25m rapid fire pistol but is considered a genuine star on the rise.

Adelaide pair Tori Rossiter, 15, and Alex Hoberg, 16, might have missed the podium but they both gained valuable experience that will hold them good stead as their focus switches to Tokyo 2020.

"It's good for the sport that there is a bit of interest from the younger age," Chapman said.

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