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OLYMPICS: Dead-eye Dan sets sights on Rio 2016
COULD you follow in the footsteps of a shooting star from Didcot who hopes to make his mark in Rio?
Dan Rivers, 21, is becoming a regular selection for Team GB in shooting. He competed in the world championships in Munich in 2010, and won the British Open Championships in March.
Dan went to the London Olympics as part of the Olympic Ambitions programme, which gives Olympic standard sportsmen and women a chance to see what it could be like to compete.
And there are plenty of chances to try the sport here in Oxfordshire.
Dan said: “It is like any sport, when you start getting to a certain level you put more and more time into it.
“It is pretty addictive. To see yourself rise up the league table really improves your confidence and gives you that feel-good factor.”
The young champion shoots a .22 rifle which uses a 22mm cartridge, competing in small bore events with other rifle and pistol shooters.
He was 14 when he started shooting and is now the pride of the Wantage Target Shooting Club.
Another marksman, Ken Packer, 69, from Abingdon, shoots with the Rover Rifles in Cowley, but took up the sport 43 years ago when he joined the MG rifles club.
He said: “I have always been interested in shooting of any sort.”
The Rover Rifles, based at the Oxford Sports and Social Club in Cowley, shoot on 25-yard indoor ranges and 50-metre outdoor ranges.
The club shoots ‘prone’ – lying down – and the rifle is held up, in front of the face, not resting on the body or the ground.
In shooting, competitions are conducted by postal league: each member “shoots his cards”, then posts his targets to a central scorer who tots up each score to produce a league table.
This is done because of a limitation on space. The Rover club has only four targets, which would mean a lot of hanging around for the 30 or 40 participants not shooting.
“You are also competing against yourself in some sense, you build up an average,” he said. “That is the main attraction for me. You don’t run around getting sweaty, it is a sport of skill.”
On Saturday, October 15, the Oxford Rifle Association, founded in 1862, celebrates its 150th birthday with a competition shoot on Otmoor, north east of Oxford.
It will be an open shoot, and anyone with a rifle or pistol can enter.
- The Oxfordshire Rifle Association lists 23 active shooting clubs in the county. To find your nearest visit oxonra.org