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Tessa Jowell’s Olympic shooting gaffe

Tessa Jowell MP, minister for the Olympics, last week stated in the House of Commons that, with regard to the London 2012 Games, “there is not a need for a legacy for shooting in the same way as other sports, as there is a world-class facility at Bisley”. In response to questioning from the Conservative MP Henry Bellingham, even more astonishing was Mrs Jowell’s assertion that the decision to hold the London 2012 shooting events at a temporary site in Woolwich, at a cost of £25million, had the backing of UK shooters. She declared: “My understanding is that it is broadly supported by those in the shooting federation who had been arguing for an alternative.”

That shooters are backing the Woolwich plan was news to Phil Boakes, chairman of British Shooting, the governing body for British target shooting. Prior to Mrs Jowell’s comments he sent a letter to all MPs calling for a permanent alternative to Woolwich and highlighting the waste of millions of pounds. He told ST: “I continue to be astounded by those who are in charge of delivering the 2012 Games. It shows that Tessa Jowell has no knowledge of our sport or its needs. If she did, totally incorrect comments such as this would not be made. She is completely wrong about support by those within the federation this is a throwaway remark to try to give her statement credibility.”

The rest of this article appears in 20th March issue of Shooting Times.

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