On the anniversary of his election as President of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), Luciano Rossi is more confident than ever that the sport is entering a “new era” with the Paris 2024 Games on its horizon and the Los Angeles Games four years further on.
Speaking after the hugely successful World Cup Final in Doha which ended a busy 2023 season, and ahead of the key ISSF Workshop at the Munich headquarters that will bring together all elements of the sport for two days of intensive discussion and innovation, President Rossi commented:
“With less than a year to go until the Paris Olympics we are working very hard to show that our sport is relevant and appealing and can be part of the Olympic future as well.
“The future is a very exciting one, and I believe that the World Cup Final that has taken place at the world-class facility of the Lusail Sports Arena has marked an important milestone in this journey.
“The event, which has returned to its place in our calendar after a three-year absence, produced some wonderful competition from our athletes in the pistol, rifle and shotgun events.
“It also featured historic floodlit finals in the trap shooting and a unique family achievement with Egypt’s Abdel Aziz Mehelba winning men’s trap gold and his brother Azmy taking silver in the men’s skeet after losing 26-25 to Denmark’s Emil Petersen in a shoot-off that will be talked about for many years to come,
Reflecting on his first year in office – a year in which he held crucial talks with the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in April – President Rossi added:
“I believe our bilateral meeting with IOC President Thomas Bach in Rome has helped repair our relationship with the IOC.
“We are proud to have been part of the Games since the first modern edition in 1896.
“And I am proud to defend and promote our sport inside the Olympic family and I want you all to know that this mission remains our number one priority.
“The time has come to get our sport back to the top step of the podium. This will be a team effort, together we can showcase our sport.”
As part of these efforts, President Rossi highlighted a new, open relationship with the ISSF Athletes Committee, a greater emphasis on co-operation within the sport and a raised media profile.
Of the four ISSF vice-presidents elected in Sharm El-Shaikh on November 30 last year, two were women – six-times Olympic medallist Kimberly Rhode of the United States and Catherine Fettell from Australia.
“It is very good that two of them are women,” Rossi said. “It is what I want and we work more in this direction. Of course there are also many others with expertise around the world.
“Step by step we are making new connections with the delegations. This is very important.
“We know that federations must have sustainability. And there must be equal gender. These things are all in my mind and we will make them happen.
“We are also working hard to integrate with the Paralympic shooters.
“It is one other goal that I have in my heart, the united capacity of Olympic and Paralympic shooting.
“Now they are too separate, with no connection. With our good relations, good connection – only if we are united we can become stronger.
“A new era has started.”