20th November 2017

Shooters eye medal in Olympic skeet discipline

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Island games veteran manager of the shooting team Pete Davies says Shetland has a very strong chance of scoring a medal in the Olympic skeet discipline.

Davies, who will only know if he can compete himself on Wednesday after an eye check-up, said that fellow gunmen John Magnus Laurenson and Darren Leslie will put in a strong showing in Gotland and have been logging up the practice hours with two or three visits to the range a week in preparation.

Davies, who has been at every island games since 1987, including Gotland in 1999, has been laid up after tearing a retina five weeks ago which required an immediate operation. His participation in the ball trap discipline hinges on the all-clear from the specialist in Aberdeen. If he cannot shoot, his place alongside Leslie will be taken by Laurenson.

Davies said: “John Magnus and Darren will be shooting Olympic skeet and there are very good, strong possibilities there of getting a medal. Darren and myself will be shooting ball trap pending the results of the eye check on Wednesday.”

Gotland’s environmental laws mandate the use of steel shot that has different ballistics to the more usual lead, though the shooters have been practising with the lighter shot to try and get the hang of the different timing required.

Though the steel shot is loaded to a similar muzzle velocity as the lead, it slows quicker in the air, meaning the shooters have even less time to react to the target being launched and having to aim and shoot slightly quicker at the clay.

“It makes it more difficult if you are not used to it. If you do not get to within point two or point three [of a second] reaction time, you will not get the target,” added Davies.

Though the shooters will be travelling with the Shetland team, sponsorship means that they will have hotel accommodation instead of staying in the lodges with rest of the competitors.

That may offset some of the costs of the sport which leads to a heavy outlay in guns, ammunition and clay targets.

According to Davies the team is really looking forward to their trip to the Baltic isle, which is a “beautiful place and the shooting ground is quite nice”.

He does wish that extra shooting disciplines had been added to this games’ roster, but Gotland apparently did not have the resources or facilities to expand the sport this time.

As well as hopefully competing, Davies’s managerial role will see him attend pre-event and after-event meetings, the latter intended to gather and integrate ideas for the next games at Gibraltar.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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