There may be less than seven months remaining until the 15 shooting events of the London 2012 Olympics begin on 28 July, but places are still up for grabs in the Great Britain team.
British shooters have so far earned four starting positions (or ?quota places?) and been granted nine more as hosts, but the names of the rifle, pistol and shotgun shooters who will fill those places will not be revealed until shortly before the games begin. Phil Scanlan, British Shooting?s team leader, told Shooting Times that competitive shooters who are still hopeful of making the team, even those who failed to make a recently published shortlist, should continue to work hard.
He said: ?No decisions have been made. We have the shortlist, but that just makes it simpler for us to see who is at the forefront in terms of selection. I?d encourage all our shooters who are hopeful of making the team to keep going ? it?s not over, until it?s over.?
The selection process is complicated. A quota place guarantees that someone from a given country will be competing in that Olympic event, but the place is not guaranteed to be awarded to the athlete who earned it. This curious situation means that even the four British athletes who won one of the coveted spots for Team GB through their excellent performances last year ? Peter Wilson and Richard Faulds in double trap, Richard Brickell in skeet and Georgina Geikie in the 25m pistol event ? are not guaranteed a place on the biggest stage of all.
And with one opportunity to earn quota places still remaining for pistol and rifle shooters, and two World Cup events in the US and London in March and April for shotgun disciplines, the door remains open for hopefuls to impress selectors and make a late bid for selection.
Mr Scanlan said: ?We?ll certainly look at performances in those events, and in terms of an indication of current form, that could be one of the criteria taken into account.
?In some events the situation is less clear because of scores that were made in events last year, so the message to everyone until that final selection meeting on 2 May would be just to keep shooting as well as you can.?