'We can beat Guernsey at 2026 Commonwealth Games'

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THE reintroduction of shooting for the 2026 Commonwealth Games offers Jersey a chance to ‘flip the script’ on Guernsey, according to one of the Island’s top marksmen.

Cameron Pirouet, who finished fourth overall in the 3-Position rifle event at Gold Coast 2018, believes his sport will recover from a recent lull now that top-grade international competition is back on the calendar.

Shooting – seen as one of Jersey’s strongest sports at Commonwealth level – was scrubbed from the schedule by organisers for the 2022 Games in Birmingham, leaving the likes of Pirouet questioning his future.

Guernsey won two medals in the Midlands this summer, in bowls and athletics, while Jersey’s wait for silverware was extended. Not since 1990 has a Caesarean claimed a medal in Jersey colours.

‘It was a hard pill to swallow as a Caesarean, watching Guernsey’s success in Birmingham, beating us considerably,’ said Pirouet. ‘I think it’s time for us to rally and flip the script in the next Games, and I think shooting could be one of the sports that helps us do that.

‘We have plenty of time to push for Victoria, so it’s great to have that to work towards. If it hadn’t have returned for 2026, I was very concerned that we might not be able to get it back at all.

‘I’m hoping this news will inspire more juniors to continue to work hard at the sport. We had seen numbers steadily decline and the sport’s removal from the Birmingham Games had an impact on everyone. We can now look at development programmes and bring some people into the sport.’

News that shooting would be included on a 20-strong list came alongside confirmation that BMX racing, rowing and golf have been added for the first time.

Selection procedures for all three of those debutants remain unknown but there is clear hope that Jersey will be represented.

Ian Daly, Jersey Golf Union men’s captain, said: ‘It’s a real shot in the arm for Jersey golf as a whole. The prospect of our men and women having the chance to represent their Island on a stage as big as the Commonwealth Games is huge. I think we will see benefits across the sport with this news.

‘Competition is fierce over here already, but if our men and ladies have the chance to go to Victoria, I think you will see many more players working overtime to be in with a shout.’

One of the uncertainties surrounding golf is whether the Commonwealth Games Federation will opt to make it an elite affair.

‘It would be a shame if they decided to go down the professional route, like the Olympics,’ Daly added. ‘I firmly believe that having each nation’s top amateurs involved would be much better and epitomise what the Commonwealth Games is all about. Amateurs would give anything for the chance to win gold at the Commonwealths.’

Jersey Ladies Golf Association president Juanita Adlington said: ‘It would be amazing to have another platform for Island golfers to show their talent. It is an exciting development which provides a goal for our best and up-and-coming players to strive to achieve.’

Meanwhile, Jersey Cycling team manager Andy Hamon believes the addition of BMX racing could spark new interest.

‘It is fantastic news that BMX racing has been included,’ he said. ‘It will give more opportunities to expand competitive cycling here on the Island and provide athletes with a major competition which they can aspire to be part of. Jersey Cycling are excited with the prospect of working with BMX in the lead up to and during the Games and hopefully into the future.’

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