Tokyo Olympics delay gives Pirouet renewed hope

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The rifle shooter had called time on his Tokyo 2020 chase due to university commitments but the IOC’s decision to move the event to 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic has offered an unexpected opportunity.

Pirouet finished fourth in the 3-position final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and represents one of Jersey’s best hopes of Olympic selection – alongside Island BMX rider Alex Coleborn.

Olympic contenders from across the globe who are not already selected have the chance to grab a shooting ‘quota’ place for the Games, although they are in extremely short supply.

‘Even though it’s still a long shot the delay is good for me,’ Pirouet said.

‘I had decided to take a break this year to focus on my exams, because the real aim is Paris 2024. However, now Tokyo has been delayed a year there will still be at least one quota place available and maybe a couple more added next year. My exams will be done so I can really turn up the heat with training.

‘The GB shooting season has been completely destroyed, but I was taking a break from shooting anyway so I’ve not got as much of a problem as other shooters. It’s worked out okay for me because my team-mates [potential Olympic qualification rivals] aren’t progressing either.

‘It has put that goal back into focus, which is good, and adding the Commonwealth Games event in India is another positive because it gives us all something to train for. The Guernsey Island Games [2021] is not looking like it will have that much shooting so a lot of us haven’t got much to train for at the moment.’

However, the current health crisis has put a stop to any progression.

‘I’ve teamed up with the Jersey Sport Foundation and we’re figuring out the best way to progress in this climate, getting my strength and conditioning up to the mark and hopefully when training comes back it will really kick off,’said Pirouet, who followed in his father Richard’s footsteps last month by collecting the Jersey Sports Council’s Mike Troy Sports Person of the Year Trophy for 2019. Pirouet senior won the award in 1991.

‘I’d like to think I can come back after the break and shoot well, but some people can really lose that edge. If you have a lot under your belt it’s easy to pick up again, like riding a bike, but I will definitely have to make some ground back.’

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