Soldiers left out of 2012 shooting team

Two members of the Army suspect prejudice and a post-Dunblane sensitivity to guns is behind their exclusion from the Olympics

Two British serving soldiers have been left out of Britain's Olympic shooting squad. Their omission has sparked allegations that they are being excluded because they are members of the military. There are also claims that the UK remains embarrassed about the sport in the wake of the Dunblane school massacre.

Warrant Officer Morgan Cook, 39, and Corporal Ian Jack, 27, both serving members of the British Army, were told last week there is no place for them at London 2012 despite both men achieving the qualifying scores. The decision leaves the UK with no representatives in the men's Olympic rapid fire free pistol event.

WO Cook, the world No 1 in his sport as well as the British Forces shooting champion, said both he and Cpl Jack are "devastated" by the decision. "There seems to be a personal as well as a political agenda. You must wonder if there is some sort of prejudice against Army people and pistol shooters in particular."

Pistol shooters have been sensitive to discrimination after they became pariahs when 16 children and a teacher were shot dead in the Scottish community of Dunblane in 1996 by a deranged gun collector. The tragedy resulted in a handgun ban.

A petition on behalf of the two soldiers will be presented to the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, at a military function this evening. Kate Hoey MP, a former sports minister and ex-president of British Shooting, has called for a review of the decision.

Cpl Jack won a major international championship in Berlin six months after taking up the sport two years ago. "Ian and I believe we both have genuine podium chances but we are being discriminated against on a technicality," WO Cook said.

He has a copy of a scorecard signed by a coach, Hugh Hunter, which shows he had a practice score of 587 out of 600, 19 more than the mark set by British Shooting and four points higher than the Olympic record.

"It is outrageous that the British public is covering the cost of the Games yet is witnessing potential Olympic champions being denied the opportunity to compete," he said. He called into question the qualifying criteria.

As a result of the decision against the two men, Britain will field only one pistol shooter in an 11-strong squad – 27-year-old Georgina Geiki.

In March, the IoS revealed that Britain's most celebrated marksman, Mick Gault, had also missed out on the Olympics despite being the nation's most prolific Commonwealth Games competitor in any sport – he has 17 medals, including nine golds.

British Shooting says the qualifying scores attained by both soldiers were not eligible as they were made in practice and not designated events, criteria agreed with the British Olympic Association. It denies any bias against service personnel or pistol shooters.

Phil Scanlan, the British Shooting team leader, said: "I refute any suggestion of prejudice. The situation is simple: they haven't made the qualifying score in competition. We decided on a specific qualification for the GB team. We felt this was the fairest way."

The shooting row follows controversy over the taekwondo star Aaron Cook who was left out of the Olympic team despite the fact that he is the world-rated No 1 in his weight class.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?