Sayonara Tokyo
Sporting Gun|October 2021
Jasper Fellows gets the lowdown on the Olympics from Matt Coward-Holley, Team GB Trap bronze medallist, and Steven Seligmann, British Shooting’s performance director
Jasper Fellows

After a year’s delay and a lot of uncertainty, Tokyo 2020 did finally take place, beginning with the opening ceremony on 23 July.

“We’d been waiting five years for that moment,” said Steven Seligmann, British Shooting’s performance director. “It was a very special moment for everyone.”

“I was so happy that the Games were actually taking place,” said Team GB Trap shooter Matt Coward-Holley. “I felt very lucky to be able to compete at all.”

They were joined by the rest of Team GB’s shooting squad, Seonaid McIntosh, Kirsty Hegarty, and Aaron Heading, as well as a support network of coaches and British Shooting staff. However, there was one empty seat on the plane to Tokyo.

Absentee

Amber Hill, the world-beating Lady's Skeet shooter was noticeably absent. She had tested positive for COVID-19 the night before the team departed and was unable to go.

“Amber’s test result was incredibly disappointing,” said Seligmann. “She was in phenomenal form ahead of the Games and I believe she would have had the chance to do something really special. Thankfully, Amber has a great support network around her. She’s already eyeing up the President’s Cup in a few months’ time, so I am sure we will see her back in action soon.”

Coward-Holley added: “It was devastating to lose a member of the team but, for me at least, I knew the job I had to do. We had to acknowledge it and look to the task ahead.”

And look ahead they did as a day after the opening ceremony the first shooting event, the 10m Air Rifle, took place, with Seonaid McIntosh flying the flag for Team GB in her first Olympics. This event would highlight the level of talent on show, with her score of 627.2 being only 1.3 points shy of the score needed for the finals. McIntosh eventually finished 12th overall. China’s Yang Qian would go on to claim Tokyo’s first gold medal, with an Olympic record score of 251.8.

Glued to the screens

The next event of interest for Team GB was women’s Skeet, albeit without Amber Hill. The Team GB shooters were glued to the screens at their venues for a couple of reasons. Seligmann said: “We wanted to see how the IOC and the Japanese were running their competitions.

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