Fourteen-year-old Jono Williams is one of the UK’s most successful Target Sprint athletes, but that success has come at a cost.
Potential sponsors are being urged to help support athletes like Jono Williams, who already holds a number of records and titles in Target Sprint.
Target Sprint is one of the fastest-growing shooting sports, but because it’s such a new sport, it does not currently feature in either the Commonwealth or Olympic Games, so funding can be hard to come by.
And while the equipment offered at training hubs is free to use, personal kit is required for extra training as athletes like Jono progress to the top level. Jono has been training at Sedgemoor Target Sprint near Bristol since March 2018 when he was 13.
That year he took part in the National Series, culminating in the final at the end of the season where he came joint first with Harrison Pepper in the U16s category.
Since then he’s trained hard in appalling weather, often running in the headlights of the family Land Rover in the pitch black and muddy roads of rural Devon.
All that training paid off though, because in March this year he unexpectedly won the first British Shooting Super League qualifier for the U21s. This league is run under ISSF rules on 35mm targets.
The athlete with the most points earned through competitions held countrywide is crowned champion, and Jono went on to win the first Super League – and he managed to retain the National Series trophy for a second year as well.
In June, Sedgemoor Target Sprint took a team to compete in Italy at the world tour. Jono took third place in the U21s, smashing the GB individual record by nine seconds with a time of 4:26:34.
In July he qualified and was selected by British Shooting to represent Great Britain in the ISSF World Tour in Suhl, Germany, where he made the final of 12 athletes.
A hard fought race saw him take Bronze. September saw the fist Air Arms cup held in Bristol. Teams from Germany, Italy and the UK competed for the trophy, and it was another Bronze medal for Jono.
Jono is now looking forward to 2020, which should prove to be even busier as more Target Sprint Hubs open up in the UK to run training and competitions, plus potentially three international events.
Success comes with hard work – but there’s a financial cost. Travel, equipment and accommodation accounts for the majority of expenses. International Target Sprint athletes are financed by their sporting associations, but UK athletes are self-funded, so UK shooters are grateful for sponsorship. Jono has the support of Air Pellets Direct, supplying him with targets and ammunition.
Jono’s mother Andrea told Airgun Shooter: “We are always looking for sponsorship to help Jono progress further in this amazing sport. He is aiming to qualify again for GB in 2020 and work towards representing his country in the ISSF World Cup in a couple of years’ time.
“As the sport grows in the UK and worldwide we look forward to a future when some funds are made available by our shooting associations for our top athletes representing Great Britain.”
Can you sponsor Jono? If so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org