Saturday, 29 February 2020

Melton Times Sports Awards presentation evening

Yesterday evening was the Melton Times Sports Awards and I was up for the Sportsman of the Year award. Those who read my social media will already know who won the award, but I felt now I have returned to the office it is time to write a blog post on the evening. Just for clarity, the office is not the shooting club, rather it is the room where I have my computer set up at home.

For those who do not know what the Melton Times Sports Awards are, they are local awards recognising the achievements of those involved in sport in and around Melton Mowbray. There were 14 awards to be presented with 18 sports represented. As I said I had been nominated for the sportsman of the year award.

When you read through what the nominated people have done, it is really impressive and I can imagine the decision was quite a tough one for the judges to pick out the winner in each category. The presentations started with the junior sportsman and junior sportswoman awards and then it was my moment with the presentation of the sportsman of the year.

As I said in a previous post, it is a slightly strange thing for me to realise I am not in the disabled sports person category, this time up against non-disabled sports people. The other two finalists both also had a good number of achievements to their name so I really did not know who would get the award until the name was read out.

Finally you patient blog readers now can be told that the name which was read out was mine and so I am this year's sportsman of the year.

The evening continued with awards in other categories, such as the community sports award, a coaching sports award, junior team awards, etc. It was a really good evening and it was nice to hear about all the nominees and what goes on in the local area.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Step towards being Melton Times sportsman of the year

In my previous post I mentioned about being nominated as Melton Times sportsman of the year. As readers of my social media posts probably already know, I have now been selected as a finalist for sportsman of the year.It is now a case of waiting until 28 February for the winners to be announced.

In the meantime I have training to do in preparation for my first international competition, the World Cup in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates which is due to be held in March. Over the last year or so I have been finding I have been putting more and more pressure on myself and I think its starting to get in the way of my shooting, so the main aim I have for this World Cup is to get back to the place where I can relax in competition and enjoy it.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

My relationship with disability

This week the nominations for the Melton Times sports awards were announced. It was nice to find my name on the list, however to find myself in the list for sportsman of the year rather than the disability sportsman of the year got me thinking again about how I feel about my disability.

Whilst I do not try to hide my disability and I accept it as being a part of who I am, I do not want to be defined by my disability. I want people to see who I am first, someone trying to be the best shooter they can be, with my vision impairment just being another fact about me. So in a way its quite pleasing to be nominated and considered for an award where disability is not in the title. It feels like a step towards equality where I can be considered against everyone else and not just in a disabled category.

Those who have followed what I have done probably already know how I shoot in national competitions against sighted shooters. In these competitions I think I place more pressure on myself than at international vision impaired shooting competitions. This is because I feel in the sighted competitions I am someone different, may be even someone who others will view as being at a disadvantage, facing more challenges and may be even pittied. So I feel I need to shoot as well as I can to show people what i can do and so that when complements are given to me I feel I have earned it. It can annoy me when people are saying well done to me when I feel I have performed much worse than my best, it can feel patronizing even if that is not the intent.

When I compete in a vision impaired specific competition I feel more comfortable as I know that people will be comparing me against other vision impaired shooters. If I have a bad day, then people will see its not the best a vision impaired shooter can manage as they will see what the other competitors achieve. So in a way the disability is less defining about me in these cases.

Also the vision impaired specific competitions are required as you do need to create an equal playing field for all competitors, particularly when you are trying to find the champion. There are certain aspects which may be harder for someone with a vision impairment to do and so it may either require more work to achieve the same level of performance as their sighted opponents or it may not even be possible to reach that level of performance. In my case the competing in national competitions against sighted shooters is to give me a challenge and experience of shooting competitions, I know that in some of the competitions there is very little chance of me winning.

So whilst I do like it when I can achieve things in non-disabled categories, I do feel it needs to come with some caution as the disability specific competitions and categories do have their place. Sometimes when aspiring to break out of the disability world, it can lead to people feeling you view the disability specific categories as a lesser category, something we really should not do.

Experience of creating shooting videos

You may be aware that over the last few weeks I have been creating some videos for IBSA on vision impaired shooting. It has been quite an ex...