ONE of Jersey’s most decorated athletes has been forced to take a step back from the competitive side of his sport.
Cameron Pirouet represented the Island at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, coming agonisingly close to Jersey’s first medal since 1990 with a fourth-place finish in the 50m rifle three-position event.
One year later, he took home five golds from the 2019 Island Games in Gibraltar – breaking four Games records in the process.
However, when Durban lost the right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to financial issues, shooting lost its place on the roster.
Birmingham was given the nod to hold the Games but organisers opted against including Pirouet’s sport on its schedule.
Some speculated that its exclusion was linked to the increase of gun crime, although the 23-year-old believes the explanation is much more simple.
‘I think the exclusion of shooting disciplines from the Games was to do with viewings and popularity,’ he said.
‘Normally during the Games, sports are selected by a large panel with a representative from every country involved. Smaller countries usually had a better chance at securing a medal within shooting and these places would vote for the sport.
‘However, when Birmingham won the Games, sports were selected by an emergency panel, given the lack of time to decide, and therefore I believe the selection was made more on which sports would bring the crowds in.
‘The fact the decision wasn’t made by the entirety of the Commonwealth probably hurt our chances of being involved.’
For Pirouet, the omission had a profound knock-on effect. After coming so close to a medal at Gold Coast 2018, much of the Islander’s focus had been on training for the opportunity to secure a medal in 2022.
‘I really wanted the chance to go back and win the medal that I should have claimed in 2018, so it’s really frustrating,’
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‘In the couple of years through the pandemic it was really tough to stay motivated, without any competition. My saving grace was working towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games and when that fell through, I had to reassess my priorities in life.
‘Once a sport is taken off the disciplines, it becomes harder to get it reinstated.’
Pirouet has now taken the difficult choice to shelve competitive shooting , as he focuses more on his career goals.
He was working as a teaching assistant, which allowed flexibility to compete away from Jersey when required, but when the events dried up the Caesarean said that shooting became ‘more of a job’ and the obligation to train every day was draining.
‘I have now started a couple of businesses, which is taking up a lot of my time,’ he said.
‘The hope is that I can have my career in a stable place in the next few years, which would allow me the freedom to step back into the competition ring when the time is right.
‘As it stands, I am shooting in the local leagues and that has really put the fun back into it for me and offered a different perspective on the sport itself.
‘Shooting was always my identity, so to make the transition away from that was really tough.
‘Fortunately I’m blessed with some great people around me who have helped me find something I am really passionate about.
‘For now, I want to put myself in a place of financial stability, so that if shooting is reinstated in the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics, then I am able to give myself the option to step back in and compete.’