Monday, 25 February 2019

British Open Airgun Championships report

I was silent here over the last two days because I was at the British Open Airgun Championships and it was difficult to find time with a good internet connection to be able to post any updates here. So here goes a full report of how I got on at the championships.

Saturday was an early start with a long drive to get to the competition. Fortunately my sighted assistant does the driving, so we arrived safely and with plenty of time to spare before my first match of the weekend. I was feeling a bit nervous as this was the first time a vision impaired shooter has shot at the British Open Airgun Championships. I think I apply pressure to myself in these situations as I want to show how well vision impaired shooters potentially can shoot.

I started sighters and all seemed to be going OK, until a minute before end of sighting time when the target failed to score shots. Fortunately we had set up a reserve firing point with a LED and so I was moved to the reserve space. After a few more sighters I seemed to settle in and moved onto competition shots. Considering the nerves and the disruption of moving to another firing point, I finished the first match with a respectable 556.1 which is better than my competition scores from last year.

Sunday was also an early start as my assistant was shooting in the first detail of the day, so breakfast was had at the shooting range. My second match was not until later that afternoon, so I spent most of the day trying to find non-shooting related things to do to keep my mind occupied.

Fortunately I had no technical issues in the second match, but it seems like I didn't quite get the initial set up of my position correct. Also quite early on my feet started to hurt from all the standing, people say it is due to the type of flooring in the shooting range. Things seemed very difficult and my scores were not what I would hope for, but I could just not work out what was wrong. Around shot 30 I made a slight adjustment to my position and things improved significantly and scores returned to normal. Due to the problems at the start my finishing score for the match was 538.3 which is much lower than I normally do. However I think I have learnt some important things from this match so its not all bad.

The competition I entered was the aggregate in class C, so the final positions are worked out from combining the two match results. Due to the low score in the second match I finished a long way down in the class, but I don't think winning was the main goal this year, I was doing it for competition experience and I think it definitely served that purpose.

Finally I would like to thank the NSRA for having the medical dispensation scheme and allowing me to compete in this competition. As well as giving me some valuable competition experience, I think having me at these increases the awareness of vision impaired shooting amongst the wider shooting community. I also hope that this will encourage other vision impaired shooters to move forward with their shooting and join me at some of these competitions.

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