Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, a six-time Olympian, will have to depend on a wild card from the international shooting to make it to the Tokyo Olympics next year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The UAE’s chances of achieving possibly another spot or two in shooting at next year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics may take a hit following the International Shooting Sport Federation’s (ISSF) decision to cancel its 2020 General Assembly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting had been scheduled to take place in Munich from November 21, but the majority of member federations preferred to hold continental video meetings instead of the 2020 General Assembly, due to existing risks and restrictions.

Members of the ISSF had been surveyed on possible options for holding the event and the ISSF Executive Committee agreed with the majority, who felt it could not be staged due to the COVID-19 crisis.

This year’s ISSF General Assembly was not an elective meeting as Vladimir Lisin became President in 2018 and is up for re-election only in 2022.

The European Championship Shotgun has also been cancelled as a result of the pandemic. The event, which had been scheduled to be held in Châteauroux in France in May, was postponed earlier this year, and has now been cancelled, further throwing the scheduled qualifying process in disarray.

European qualifying places

European qualifying places in shotgun for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are set to be allocated at the 2021 European Championship in Osijek, Croatia from May 23 to June 6 next year. Further, continental rankings will be used to decide the quotas if the event does not take place.

In a statement, the world governing body for shooting admitted that certain things still need to be ironed out in the near future, including the allocation of qualifying slots to shooters due to cancellation of several qualifying events around the world.

“This will allow for a more detailed discussion of management reports on current ISSF activities and specific issues of concern to Member Federations while avoiding possible problems due to technical failures, language barriers, and time differences,” the ISSF statement said.

So far, the UAE has got just two athletes qualifying directly for the re-scheduled 2020 Olympic Games – judokas Victor Scvortov in the men’s 73kg category and Ivan Remarenco in the men’s -100kg category, respectively.

The UAE’s chances of increasing the number of athletes in Tokyo next year may now depend on whether Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum - who has made it to the past six Olympic Games in shooting – receives an invitation or a wild card from the ISSF and if the nation gets another few spots through track and field athletes Saud Juma Al Zaabi (1,500mts), Alia Saeed (10,000m) and Naseeb Salmeen (200m).