Home » Sports » Zim in Clay Shooting Victory

THE Zimbabwe A team that took part in the South African Grand Clay Target Shooting competition put up a remarkable show when they beat the hosts at Wattle Spring Gun Club in Pretoria.

Clay Target Shooting is the art of shooting firearm at special flying targets, known as clay pigeons, or clay targets.

Zimbabwe have been participating at this event since 2012, fielding juniors as part of their developmental programme, and this was their first time to beat a South African side.

Although the South African Grand is an individual competition, Zimbabwe, who are still at developmental stages, requested for a team competition between the two countries’ junior participants.

This year Zimbabwe had three teams competing in the Universal Trench and American Trap Association (ATA).

Each team was made up of three boys.

Two teams competed in the Universal Trench with the A team made up of James Waller, Graham Shepherd and Jeremy Layard beating South Africa after scoring 237 target out of a possible 300.

The South Africans scored 224.

One of the juniors in the A team, Shepherd, had 92 shots out of a possible 100 and was the overall top junior at the competition.

However, the B team made up of Conor King, Ross Hayter and Anthony Hartman lost to South Africa to finish third.

South Africa’s A team was second.

Mashonaland Gun Club development side came in as the third team for Zimbabwe competing in the ATA section and they went down to South Africa in that category.

The side, featuring Ryan Sylvester, Sam Harvey and Marc McDonald, had 206 targets while South Africa hit 276 targets.

One of the coaches for the teams, Ashley King, said they have seen some improvement on their juniors since they started competing in the South African Grand three years ago.

“We have been going there for three years and what we find is that when the boys get there, the stress of the competition shows up because it’s a completely new environment to shooting and there is a lot of pressure.

“They genuinely find it very difficult and even if they shoot below their normal scores it grows them as youngsters to go on a tour of this nature and to compete at such a high level.

“And we found that the rewards come when they return home, you find that they themselves have proved their shooting enormously because the one way to improve your shooting is to shoot in competitions and to put yourself outside of your comfort zone.

“So when you get home your abilities would have improved enormously,” said King.

King said lack of funds was affecting their efforts.

“It has been an integral part of our programme to expose the boys to as much international shooting as we can.

“Our plan going forward is to look outside of South Africa as well.

“Finance is one of the bigger restrictions because this is not a cheap sport and obviously the logistics of handling weapons, travelling with weapons is always difficult,” said King.

Source : The Herald