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Eight brits have podium potential
Eight British shooters will benefit from lottery funding next year thanks to the British Shooting World Class Performance Programme.
The elite eight are classed as ‘Podium’ or ‘Podium Potential’, meaning they have a realistic chance of winning an Olympic medal within the next five years.
Shotgunners dominate the list, with Matt Coward-Holley, Aaron Heading, Kirsty Barr, Nathan Hales, Amber Hill, Ben Llewellin and Jeremy Bird all making the cut. Seonaid McIntosh is the sole rifle shooter in this class.
The programme also named 16 shooters who will enjoy support as part of the British Shooting National Academy Programme. They are: Mike Gilligan, Freddie Killander, Emily Hibbs, David McNeill, Lucy Hall, Ellie Seward, Steve Scott, Mike Bargeron, Dean Bale, Katie Gleeson, Cameron Pirouet, Kim Tzabach, Mike Bamsey, Aedan Evans, James Miller and Sam Gowin.
British Shooting’s performance director, Steven Seligmann, said: “We are really pleased to announce the 2019/20 cohort of WCP athletes. The British Shooting WCP has a very clear focus of developing and supporting athletes to consistently medal at the Olympics and Paralympics.
“This is an exciting year for a very exciting group of athletes and we are looking forward to supporting them and seeing how they progress towards Tokyo and looking beyond to Paris.”
Records and quotas for GB in Sydney
GB saw plenty of success at the WSPS World Championships in Sydney, with Matt Skelhon leading the way with two gold medals.
First he took gold in the mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1, then he followed it up with another win in R6 50m rifle SH1, setting a new world record on the way with 251.4.
Speaking after the win, he said: “I’ve worked really hard and wanted to come to Sydney to smash it and did that.
“Halfway through the final I felt the world record was up for grabs and went for it. I couldn’t be happier with two gold medals – Tokyo can’t come soon enough.”
Elsewhere, Issy Bailey secured a Paralympic quota in P2 Women’s 10m Air Pistol SH1, finishing ninth with a score of 551.10x. Lorraine Lambert won a quota in R8 rifle three position, Michael Whapples won bronze in VI rifle, and there was team gold for James Bevis, Ryan Cockbill and Tim Jeffrey in 50m SH2 men.
Seonaid speaks out on Commonwealths
Olympic rifle-shooting hopeful Seonaid McIntosh has told the BBC that the exclusion of shooting from the 2022 Commonwealth Games could end up being a good thing for some athletes.
She explained that those in the elite sections of the sport would have to raise their game as they would now be aiming for the Olympic and European Games.
“You will lose people at the bottom and that’s sad, but I think your top end people will get better,” she said. “They’ll have to if they want to continue in the sport.”
McIntosh, who is ranked world number one in women’s rifle three position, is expected to compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year after World Cup golds and a silver, as well as a European gold and bronze, in a hugely successful 2019.
On her chances of winning a medal in 2020, she said: “I have no idea how I’ll react to being in an Olympics, I’ve never been in one before,” she said.
“You can tell yourself it’s just another competition and try to pretend it’s the same, but it’s not.”
Ross-on-Wye gunshop is bigger and better
The R&B Sporting gunshop in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, has undergone a major expansion and refit, and is now double its former size with dedicated displays for leading shotgun and rifle brands.
“We’ve been bursting at the seams for a while now,” explains Rob Farquhar. “I’m really pleased that we have been able to realise our ambitious plans this year to offer our customers more of everything – new and second-hand shotguns, rifles and air rifles, as well as premium optics and clothing, and an on-site gunsmithing service.”
The extra shop floor space has already enabled R&B Sporting to add new clothing brands, such as Finnish hunting brand Sasta, alongside their existing selection of Alan Paine, Beretta, Le Chameau and Harkila. Further product ranges will be added soon.
See www.rbsporting.co.uk for details.