Soldiers left out of 2012 shooting team - Olympics - Sport - The Independent

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
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week