Shooting Olympic selection events still on

Rob Forsaith

Shooting Australia is pushing on with its final round of Olympic selection events despite the coronavirus pandemic.

SA cancelled its Shooting Australia Open, set to run this Friday to Sunday at the Sydney International Shooting Centre, but will still hold events involving athletes in the mix to make the Tokyo Games.

Australian shooters are some of the nation's best gold-medal hopes, many of which have already secured quota spots for Tokyo 2020.

SA is using a four-event series to determine who claims the berths on offer, with shooters' three best scores counting towards the final leaderboard.

The final rifle events will now be held at the Wingfield Rifle Range in Adelaide on Friday and Saturday, while pistol and shotgun competitions will be staged in Sydney on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

SA chief Luke van Kempen suggested his organisation made its decision after talks with NSW government, the Australian Olympic Committee, Australian Institute of Sport, medical experts and other stakeholders.

"Shooting Australia's chief priority is the health of athletes, officials and members of the community," van Kempen said in a statement.

"Even though we estimated the number of attendees at the Shooting Australia Open would be around 371 people, which is below the 500 people event threshold set by the federal government, we believed it would be irresponsible to proceed with the event as originally planned.

"Instead, Shooting Australia will conduct closed Olympic nomination events for the 54 eligible athletes."

Van Kempen noted shooting is a sport that can take place and still allow athletes to maintain "a safe social distance from other competitors and officials".

"A number of guidelines will be implemented to allow for this," he said.

"All athletes and officials will be well educated on these matters prior to their respective events."

Van Kempen added there is a provision in the nomination criteria for selectors to consider an athlete's non-attendance if they are not comfortable shooting this weekend.