Shooting may have been dropped from the 2022 Commonwealth Games, but Liverpool markswoman Ruth Mwandumba is refusing to give up on her dream of competing just yet. The 23-year-old is among the athletes set to miss out on the chance to go for gold in Birmingham after it was confirmed shooting would not feature - yet hope remains the sport will be reinstated. Regardless, she still has her sights set on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Shooting has been contested at every Commonwealth Games since 1966, with the exception of Edinburgh 1970, but the sport is on the list of optional disciplines for host cities. But while it looks unlikely the St Mary’s College pupil will get the opportunity to compete on home soil in three years’ time, Ruth remains hopeful shooting’s fate could be reversed.
Her first priority, though, is to continue her rapid progression in the sport she only started to take seriously less than two years ago after initially being underwhelmed by it. “I didn’t really get competitive in shooting until a year and a half ago as I wasn’t really doing it too much at school,” she said. “I first tried it at school but it really didn’t hook me then.
“I was in the army cadets when I was at school from the age of 13 to 17 and we had the chance to try out army rifles when we were on training camps and stuff like that. I realised I was pretty good at it though and then about a year and a half ago I decided to go into it competitively, I just bought all the kit and it has been quite a rapid progression from there.
“I would like to go to the Olympic Games, that is the end goal for me. I am hoping for Paris 2024, not so much Tokyo 2020, but if I did get selected that would be a huge bonus. I would also like to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, although shooting has just been pulled from it – but there’s a lot of hope it will get put back in.
“Hopefully that will happen and it would great to compete a Commonwealth Games on home soil so that is another of my goals further down the line.”
And Ruth is confident she is heading in the right direction to achieve her international ambitions, after impressing at the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Championship.
“It was in Northern Ireland and I was selected to compete in three events,” she said. “I managed to medal in all three of them and finished with gold, silver and bronze, so I was happy with that. There is another Commonwealth Shooting Championships this year in the Isle of Man so I would like to be selected for that in September and then I have a few more international competitions.”
Ruth was speaking at a SportsAid workshop being hosted in partnership with GVC – the multi-national sports betting and gaming group – at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London. GVC are supporting 50 athletes across 33 sports, with each one receiving a financial award and personal development opportunities through SportsAid, including support around nutrition, mentoring and media training.
Olympian Leon Taylor and Paralympian Millie Knight, who are both SportsAid alumni, were also on hand at the workshop to share their experiences of elite level sport. And Leon, who delivered a mentoring session, said: “I’ve been involved with SportsAid for many years as an ambassador and it started when I received a SportsAid award as a young athlete.
“I really know how much of a difference getting that recognition can make. I’m supporting the cause now as a retired athlete because I know what the journey is like.”
GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.