The coronavirus global pandemic has hit us all in a myriad of ways, for top sporting talent in Wales the pandemic and associated regulations threatened the years of hard work towards their goals. The management and coaches at the Welsh Target Shooting Federation have worked with new Covid Medical Officer Mr Angus Robertson to enable Wales’ top shooting talent to continue developing despite the pandemic.
Elite Return To Training
A pragmatic and collaborative approach has been taken to the coronavirus regulations to enable elite athletes to continue their development in a safe manner that supports their performances for Wales and the UK on the world stage. The Welsh Sports Association along with Team Wales and Sport Wales have facilitated close collaboration between national governing bodies in Wales to inform government on the needs of elite sport and the impacts of coronavirus regulations. The Welsh Target Shooting Federation’s Elite Return To Training system was implemented earlier this year where athletes with the potential to represent Wales and the UK in international competitions were provided with specific and limited exemptions to coronavirus regulations.
Named athletes from shotgun, rifle, pistol, and target sprint disciplines have been provided with these exemptions and have therefore been able to continue training despite local or national regulations. In addition to exemptions from regulations, a new system of managing viral infection risks was swiftly implemented at training venues across Wales. These included extra hygiene measures, social distancing, medical screening, and increased online activity. Innovative measures such as coaching from a distance with walkie-talkies and online-only competitions have also been used to much success. Mr Angus Robertson was appointed Covid Medical Officer and has overseen the safe return to training for top Welsh target shooting talent, and their coaching and support teams. Due to this success, the Welsh Target Shooting Federation hopes to retain Angus as a Chief Medical Officer towards the next Commonwealth Shooting Championships in 2022 where medals will be included in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games medal count.
The sport sector in Wales has been an excellent example of how committed people and nimble organisations can group together to overcome the challenges posed by a global pandemic. The Welsh government has repeatedly praised the sector on how regulations have been adhered to, the clarity of feedback and suggestions, and the consistent messaging from governing bodies to their stakeholders. The Elite Return To Training system has insulated top Welsh talent from what could have been devastating effects on their performance from necessary public health interventions.
Special Thanks To…
There are a number of institutions and people to thank for the continued support of elite target shooting in Wales. First, to all players of the National Lottery who support 110,000 organisations across the UK to keep sport going through the good times and the tough times. The National Lottery turns 26 years old this month, and the Welsh Target Shooting Federation thanks all players for crossing their fingers and supporting good causes across the UK.
The Welsh Sports Association, Team Wales, and Sport Wales have provided excellent advocacy for all sports and enabled collaboration between Welsh governing bodies. Without these organisations and their committed staff, Welsh target shooting talent may have been stifled by the public health interventions to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Welsh Target Shooting athletes and coaches were extremely patient whilst the Elite Return To Training system was being implemented, and have diligently followed the rules required of them. Similarly, management and support staff worked hard and fast to ensure the system facilitates all the necessary activities. All of these people have contributed to the success of enabling top Welsh target shooting despite the global coronavirus pandemic.