Target sprint ends on a high

Andy McGarty reveals how a new record was set and plenty of medals won at the Target Sprint British Championships and National Series Final.

This season’s Target Sprint domestic competition has come to a close with some of the UK’s top athletes testing their mettle over an exciting weekend of sunshine and shooting, rainfall and running.

The Yate Sports Centre played host to the British Championships and Super League Final on a sunny Saturday, while the National Series Final took place the following day in less-than-perfect conditions.

As before, the competitors had to run three 400-metre legs, shooting two sets of five knockdown targets in between.

Super League

Saturday afternoon’s glorious sunshine saw the UK’s top Target Sprint athletes take part in the last competition of the Super League and the chance to be crowned British Champion.

The Super League had been run over the year using ISSF 35mm targets. The league table was close going into this event, and double points were on offer for the championship race.

In the championship finals, the outstanding performance of the day went to the brand new British Junior Women’s winner Poppy Clark in a record time of 05:13.57, beating Emily Shawyer’s previous record by six seconds.

Credit: Andy McGarty

Callum Fricker took the Junior Men’s title with the fastest time of the day. The Women’s category went to Rachel McManus, who travelled from Northern Ireland to compete. With the sun rapidly setting, a determined Anthony Glover crossed the line first to take the Men’s title.

The double points were added to the totals, showing that consistency across the season was the key to who took home the Super League trophies. Out of a possible 80 Super League points on offer in the 2019 season, Jono Williams took the Junior Men’s Super League title with 60 points, ahead of Arno Turner with 54.

A strong showing from the Welsh contingent saw Paul O’Callaghan win the Men’s competition with 57 points, Emily Shawyer won the Junior Women’s title with 59 points, while Kirstin Littlewood won the Women’s event with 28 points.

National Series Final

Day two started on a wet note for the Series Final, which was shot on the larger 49.5mm targets. Athletes qualified from eight regional competitions, including the Schools Championships held at Bisley. Heat races took part in the drizzle before clearing at lunchtime, where both competitors and spectators were treated to a demonstration of Para Target Sprint.

Credit: Andy McGarty

Sport for All

The demonstration welcomed Paralympic rifle shooter Tim Jeffrey, Talent Pathway Para pistol shooter Nikita Wright, GB Target Sprint Team athlete 2019 Morten van der Schee and Team GB fencing Paralympian 1988 Mike Hanney in a shortened version of the sport.

With the athletes’ differing levels of experience and different physical abilities, the demonstration illustrated the true nature of this ‘Sport for All’.

It was then back to the closely fought finals, which saw the lead change more than once in each of the races, with talented young athletes Caitlin Keaney and Jono Williams taking home to the West Country the Youth gold medals.

Credit: Andy McGarty

A fantastic performance from Araminta Stubbs saw her on the top podium place in the Junior Women’s category. And with the fastest time of the day, John Trotman took the Junior Men’s title home to Manchester.

The Women’s trophy and National Final title went to Megan Gilkes in the strongest women’s race seen at the National Series Final to date. But it was Anthony Glover who made it two titles in two days to win the Men’s National Series Final 2019. 

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