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
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
News
people
News
A speech made by the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister urging women not to laugh in public in order to preserve morality has sparked a backlash on social media from women posting defiant selfies of themselves laughing at his remarks.
GALLERYWhy are Turkish women having a chuckle at the government's expense?
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star