Former International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Final organiser Francesco Repich has criticised proposals to replace the men's 50 metre pistol competition with a mixed gender event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
It was announced last week that three mixed gender team events have been recommended for the 2020 Olympic programme in Tokyo by an ISSF Ad-Hoc Committee, as the governing body seek to establish gender equality.
The Committee was established to meet the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020 reforms, which aim to "work with the Intenational Federations (IFs) to achieve 50 per cent female participation in the Olympic Games".
A recommendation was made to replace the double trap men’s event with a trap mixed gender team competition, while the 50m rifle prone men’s discipline would become a 10m air rifle mixed gender team event.
The third change would see the men’s 50m pistol competition become a mixed gender 10m air pistol event, something Repich, the President of the Organising Committee of the 1997 ISSF World Cup Final in Lugano in Switzerland, strongly disagrees with.
"We are talking from the event that is symbol of pistol shooting and is the most difficult event in shooting," he said in an e-mail seen by insidethegames.
"The proof is that the world record in 50m men's pistol was broken after 33 years in 2014.
"Don’t forget that 50m pistol shooting has also been in the Summer Olympic Games from 1896."
The Ad-hoc Committee, led by ISSF secretary general Franz Schreiber and including athletes and coaches, began a review process in 2015.
They met three times, conducting a detailed analysis of the events on the Olympic programme.
It is claimed their proposals were made to preserve parity between the shooting disciplines, and to retain 15 Olympic events with five rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines included.
However Repich, the owner of the Morini Competition Arm S.A gun factory in Switzerland, believes it is the difficulty of the 50m pistol competition that is the driving force behind the decision.
"My personal opinion is that ISSF members don’t want 50m pistol men because it is a difficult discipline and they try to convince you that there are always less and less shooters at competitions," he added.
"If ISSF members want to have easy competitions then they have to introduce laser shooting like modern pentathlon where shooting is ridiculous.
"Shooting is not easy because this is our sport, you can’t change."
The ISSF Council are due to make a final decision by the end of February, which will then be put forward to the IOC for their approval in mid-2017.