Bellbird shooter Tom Turner strives for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games despite end of double trap

World Championship-bound shooter Tom Turner remains hopeful of finishing his international career with a Commonwealth Games medal on home soil next year but said he was disappointed about the possible removal of double trap from future Olympic schedules.

The Bellbird 44-year-old, who represented Australia in the discipline at Athens 2004, keeps focused on qualifying for the Gold Coast in April but knows the next nine months could be the farewell tour of his beloved event.  

“This is the end of my event,” Turner said.

“Double trap is one of the events that has been cut from the the Olympic Games. At the minute they’re still arguing against it, but whether they have any luck I don’t know.

“So the World Championships will be the last one ever shot in double trap and there’s no world events scheduled for next year. The Commonwealth Games is about the last event I know of internationally.”

On Wednesday the International Shooting Sport Federation released a statement urging athletes to have their say about events on future Olympic programs via a specially-created forum.      

The initial recommendation to scrap double trap was put forward earlier this year as the International Olympic Committee aim to achieve 50 per cent female participation at the Games in Tokyo 2020.

Russell Mark made the event famous in Australia when he claimed gold and silver medals at back-to-back Olympics in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000). 

Turner said he feels for current national teammate James Willett, aged 21 and ranked No.1 in the world for double trap after finishing fifth at the 2016 Rio Games.     

“To me it’s not as big a deal, because I’m sort of at the end of my international shooting, but it’s different for younger guys like James Willett,” Turner said.

“He’s world number one at the moment and he’s got a long way ahead of him after putting a lot of money and time into it. I’m sure he’ll go on in single trap, but it’s a bit devastating for him.” 

Turner and Willett were this week announced as Australia’s men’s double trap representatives for the ISSF Shotgun World Championships in Moscow from August 30. 

Performances at that competition and a series of others in Darwin, Sydney and Brisbane before the end of the year will determine selections for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.     

There are two of these clay target positions available for the Gold Coast, but both won’t necessarily be filled.  

Turner led but was eliminated in the semi-finals of his Commonwealth Games debut in Glasgow in 2014. 

TRADITION: Bellbird father-son combination Jack and Tom Turner. Picture: Josh Callinan

TRADITION: Bellbird father-son combination Jack and Tom Turner. Picture: Josh Callinan

Turner’s son Jack, 17, will wear the green and gold uniform for the first time next month when he represents the Australian junior team at the Universal Trench Championships in France.

Universal trench is the shortened version of single trap. 

One day Turner wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and make the Olympic and Commonwealth games.