The North West Championships took place at the weekend, kindly hosted by the North West Regional Centre at East Cheshire Harriers athletics track.
Craig Davies, British Shooting Communications Manager said; “It was great to see the north-west leg of the 2019 Target Sprint Series take place in Manchester.
“British Shooting’s volunteer of the year from 2018, Doug Pepper, organised a fantastic event which saw some strong performances in windy conditions.”
The first races on the programme were the Super League, which are run to ISSF rules over the smaller 35mm diameter targets. The first race saw excellent solid performances from both Emily Shawyer and Victoria Bradbury who took gold and silver respectfully in the Junior Women’s category. Caitlin Keaney put in a gritty, determined performance as her shooting element didn’t go quite to plan. However, she really showed her potential as she took gold in the Youth Girls National Series race later on in the day.
All the performances from the Super League races at the North West Championships are also included in the GB Ranking list. The GB Ranking list is one of the sources of information the GB Target Sprint Selectors will be taking into consideration at next week’s GB Team Selection meeting.
The Junior Men and Men raced side by side in the next Super League race. Isaac Steel broke the 5 minute barrier with a time of 4 minutes 57 seconds to claim gold and ten Super League Points. In hot pursuit came Jonathan Williams and local athlete John Trotman who took silver (9 Super League Points) and bronze (8 Super League Points) respectfully.
The National Series races were next on the event programme and saw several athletes having a go at Target Sprint for the first time and qualifying for the National Series Final.
Laura Whitton last shot 15 years ago in the Cadets and made a comeback to shooting sport for the first time on Sunday taking the Women’s National Series North West title with a time of 7 minutes 25 seconds.
Laura is a competitive middle-distance runner. Kevin Pilcher, Laura’s former Cadet Shooting instructor, spotted her potential and encouraged her to get involved with Target Sprint.
Laura went on to say; “Everyone there was so friendly and supportive. It seemed nice and relaxed, so it wasn’t intimidating.”
Local young athlete Phoebe Midgely, who is a keen fell runner, is another exciting talent to watch out for in the future.
The strong male National Series categories saw excellent performances from athletes aged 12-56 years.
The Senior Men which included the over 45 category, had the largest number of entrants and demonstrated how Target Sprint is a Sport for All.
Doug Pepper, who leads the North West Regional Centre and coordinated the Championships said; “Events like this can only run with the time and effort provided by the volunteers, and I want to thank everyone involved for their invaluable support getting this event set up and running like clockwork.”
Photography by Kenny McRae