Shooting Australia has announced its 2021 National Performance Series in all target Shooting disciplines will involve several events that will be fully integrated with Para-shooters competing alongside the nation’s best able-bodied athletes, including those who have been selected for the Tokyo Olympics.
The ground-breaking decision coincides with the celebration of International Day of People with a Disability on December 3.
Shooting Australia Chief Executive, Luke van Kempen, said that for selected events, competitors in Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun disciplines will all compete under International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) competition regulations, proving that the sport is fully inclusive regardless of ability or disability.
“For example, we will see Paralympic Rifle athletes Anton Zappelli and Natalie Smith shooting on the line against Dane Sampson and Elise Collier, who have been selected for the Tokyo Olympics. Olympic Trap athletes James Willett and Thomas Grice, who will make his Olympic debut in Tokyo, will be lining up against Para-shooting Trap World Record holder, Scottie Brydon,” he added.
“Shooting competitions in Australia have staged the odd event in the past where Para and able-bodied athletes have shot on the same line, and now we have the opportunity to further integrate this into our 2021 National Performance Series,” said van Kempen.
“Integrated competition in our Performance Series is the initiative of our National Coaches and is fully supported by our leading Olympians and Paralympians,” he added.
“There are some events such as men’s and women’s Air Rifle Prone, which is an exclusive Paralympics event, where integration is not possible.”
The decision represents a major breakthrough according to 12-time Paralympian and nine-time Paralympic Shooting gold medallist, Libby Kosmala.
In 1994, Kosmala famously sought legal action after she was denied entry into the South Australian Club Champions final after being crowned the Morialta Club Champion.
“This is fantastic news,” said Kosmala. “It’s something I’ve been pushing for for many years.”
Sampson said the decision will have wider benefits.
“This is good news and good for the sport. Hopefully, it will lead to more clubs and organisations conducting more fully integrated Shooting events,” said Sampson.
The 2021 National Performance Series events schedule will be announced later this month.
Shooting Australia, together with their Member Organisations will continue to work closely with 2021 National Performance Series host clubs and venues to ensure they are supported in the smooth and efficient delivery of fully integrated competitions.
By: Greg Campbell, Shooting Australia
Posted: 3 December 2020