COMMONWEALTH Games medal-winning husband and wife Mike and Sarah Wixey are still holding out hope that shooting is going to feature at Birmingham 2022.

England’s second city became the next hosts of the Commonwealths in December after Durban in South Africa was stripped of the Games for failing to meet key obligations.

But while the event will now be a lot closer to home for the Wixeys, who live in Abergavenny, sadly for them their chosen discipline is not in Birmingham’s programme of sports.

It is a huge blow for the couple, more so given how they performed on Australia’s Gold Coast only last month.

Mike, 46, won gold in the men’s trap, meaning he won’t be able to defend his title in four years’ time, while Sarah, 47, claimed bronze in the women’s trap.

Both want to go to another Commonwealth Games but, as things stand, they will have to wait until 2026 – and the same thing goes for Wales’ other shooters, four of which medalled Down Under.

David Phelps struck gold in the 50m rifle prone, Ben Llewellin picked up a silver in the skeet and Gareth Morris and Chris Watson teamed up to secure Queen’s prize pair silver.

When asked if they would like to add to their Gold Coast successes, Sarah said: “I’d like to think so but at the moment shooting hangs in the balance because the Birmingham Commonwealth Games currently doesn’t have it in the programme at all.

“As you’d imagine, that’s a real downer, a real shame for our sport, and there are lots of things going on behind the scenes to try and encourage the Birmingham bid to include shooting, so we wait with bated breath.

“For Wales, with five of our medals coming from shooting, it will be a devastating blow if we can’t get to Birmingham.”

She added: “Birmingham’s was the only bid after Durban and, sadly, they just didn’t put shooting into their programme.

“They haven’t got a lot of time to turn around their facilities. But when it was held in Manchester in 2002 all the shooting was at Bisley in Surrey, and I know they would be very pleased to have it again.

“So there’s no reason why Birmingham can’t include shooting in their schedule.”

Mike added: “Maybe there will be a change of heart, you never know. Let’s hope so.”

The Wixeys, understandably, loved their Gold Coast experience, and it wasn’t just winning medals that made it special.

“It was phenomenal, absolutely fantastic,” said Mike. “The Australians always put on very good Commonwealth Games. I’ve been to two out there and they’ve both been first class.

“The shooting team had a really good team ethic this time, the best I’ve ever seen, and maybe that was behind the success we saw.

“I think we both had realistic expectations of medalling but pulling it out on the day is always in the lap of the gods a bit.

“We both went to the test event in October and shot reasonably well. I won silver so I guess I was expected to do well, and I also expected myself to do well.

“Sarah also expected herself to do well because we’d put a lot of time and effort into getting prepared for it, and the last two years had been very hectic.

“There was a lot of babysitting going on (the couple have two daughters) to allow us to travel all over the world getting ready for that one shoot.

“Winning shoots along the way is always good, but it was all being pointed towards the Games and it worked out very well for us.”