The first International Target Sprint of 2018 took place in Ora, Italy at the weekend. The “Walther Trophy Target Sprint” was set in the beautiful mountainous surroundings, in scorching 32 degree heat.
The International was an extremely successful event for all the athletes from Great Britain, of which eight made their respective Finals (top 10). However, the star of the show was Rachel McManus, who claimed Great Britain’s first ever international target sprint medal, taking the Bronze individual Senior Women.
Rachel took a moment to reflect upon the event, saying; “For my heat race I felt if I put in a consistent performance, finishing in 4th place with a Personal Best. I was delighted to make the Final and it gave me confidence to believe in my performance.
“As cheesy as it sounds my New Year’s mantra is to “dream to achieve and achieve your dreams”. And that’s exactly what’s happening. I’m so excited for future competitions, knowing I can still improve so much! Winning bronze has been amazing, showing me that my determination to never give up has paid off!
“I’m so excited to be involved with Target Sprint as its profile increases and I hope my performance will show the world we in Great Britain are coming!”
International travel isn’t all glamourous! Due to complications at the airport upon departure, it was a 26 hour total transit to Italy.
GB Team Coach John Saint said; “The team were so professional and bonded supporting on another. 13hrs delay in the airport playing ball games, stretching in front of the EasyJet staff passed the time productively.”
Isabel Moore was the highest placed Junior Women, placed 5th in the field of Under 21’s when she is just 14 years old. Her brilliant performance was just ahead of team mates Poppy Clark, Emily Shawyer, Victoria Bradbury and Katie Robbins in the Final, who came 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th respectfully. A great team performance.
Isabel said: “I wasn’t really nervous about going away to compete abroad for the first time without my parents. Thanks to the GB training, GB qualification events and National Series competitions I felt ready to be part of the team in Italy.
“On race day I felt my qualification race could have been a bit better, my nerves definitely affected my shooting. I did enough though to qualify for the final where I felt more in control and I managed to run and shoot well. I was really proud of my performance and learnt so much from not only the racing, but trip as a whole.
“It was such fun meeting the teams from the other counties. I made lots of new friends who I hope to see again soon at another International competition!”
Tim Moore, Isabel’s father added: “Not being in Italy and supporting from home was a nail biting experience!
“Technology has certainly helped us parents whilst the athletes have been away. The parents who were out in Italy, like Janine Bradbury, kept us up to date with information and photos. She kept us in the loop which was a lifeline, which we were so grateful for.
“As parents we are so used to being around when she is training and competing and in our heads we ‘need’ to be there but now I’m not so sure, she seems to do just fine without us! She hasn’t become such a self-sufficient athlete overnight though. The training, support and education she has benefited from by being part of the GB Target Sprint team has equipped her to cope with what was an arduous first taste of international completion. She knew how to fuel herself before, during and after the event due to her time working with Sam the team’s nutritionist, she knew how to cope mentally not only with the travel issues but also the race because Barnaby has given her the tools and skills to manage stressful situations, she knew what to expect of the race because Martin and John have devised a training programme that equipped her with the skills to compete and she also knew how to ‘just run faster’ thanks to Mark! Our thanks to all the people associated with the GB squad for making it all happen.”
James Baxter was the highest placed GB athlete in the Junior Men’s category, finishing in 9th place narrowly ahead of a storming performance by George Smith who also from Great Britain was completing for Sedgemoor Training.
Bronwyn Baxter, James’ mum said: “James came home full of stories to tell us about the event and place itself! One thing he repeated was the electric team spirit. This on the race day supporting one another, but also throughout the whole trip.
“As a parent we couldn’t be more proud. His self-motivation, drive, determination and passion for the sport is awe inspiring and something his siblings are looking up to.
“Everything he is experiencing is not just for now; it’s something he will carry forward for the rest of his life. Bring on the next event in Germany!”
Ollie Vass just missed out on a top 10 placing, finishing in a very creditable 11th place in a world class line up.
Ollie went on to say: “For me, the run-up to the competition involved a huge amount planning and preparation. In the two weeks leading up to Italy, I had 3 final year university exams. The pressure was extremely high during the last 2 months of my degree, so to keep focused was sometimes very difficult, but something I’m very proud to have achieved.
“It was an honour to compete for Great Britain and put GB on the international target sprint map in the senior men’s category. The team dynamics were fantastic. We had all the other teams watching us while we did group warm-ups and team games after. This showed the strength of the team as a whole with each athlete and coach contributing to our dynamic team.”