Sport

Jamaica Skeet Club buys Olympic-quality Shooting Equipment

BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, January 22, 2013    

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WHILE suffering a few teething pains, the Jamaica Skeet Club (JSC) has debuted its new Auto Trench Canterbury International Trap shoot equipment as it aims to get local shooters into more international competitions.

JSC president Brett Thwaites told the Jamaica Observer that the trap is Olympic standard.

"It's very hard and very fast. It's fabulous for practise because there are so many different presentations you can select exactly which one you want and practise it till you master it. It's not just great for a competition, it's great for practise," he said.

The apparatus, which cost over $2 million, was ordered from New Zealand in June 2012 and arrived in the island in October. However, it was not until December that it made its debut as several other features had to be installed for the equipment to be ready for use.

The apparatus, which cost over $2 million, was ordered from New Zealand in June 2012 and arrived in the island in October. However, it was not until December that it made its debut as several other features had to be installed for the equipment to be ready for use.

Thwaites said it became a pet project of his when he was elected president of the JSC four years ago.

"When I took over as president I felt that it was a mistake we had been making that we were not participating in the international sports which allow you to represent your country," Thwaites explained.

"The membership gave me the green light after one year of being president to go ahead. It's a long-term plan."

The club received financial assistance from the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) and the Ministry of Finance in the form of an import waiver to purchase the equipment.

While the trap is meant to be underground, because of the Skeet Club's location, machinery had to be built above ground for easy movement in case of flooding.

"We are in a very hostile environment pretty much in the sea. A swamp...we have gone totally under water nearly four feet deep on two occasions with Hurricanes Ivan and Dean, so we know what can happen out here so everything we do with a permanence to it... this has been made mobile so we can just hitch it up and move it, and especially in case of a storm, get it to high ground," said Thwaites.

"We have to present to the shooter exactly what he would see if it was on the ground."

Nine different programmes comprise the Olympics and the equipment has been programmed with all nine.

"This is the hardest of all shotgun shooting sports. It's really difficult."

Thwaites hopes that through use of the equipment Jamaica may eventually qualify a shooter for the Olympic Games.

National champion Shaun Barnes competed at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Thwaites said the youngster has dedicated himself to qualifying for the Olympics.

"He says he will shoot some other shooting, but this is what he is doing. He is doing everything he can to try and qualify for the Olympics."

Thwaites is reserved in his predictions as he told the Observer that a shooter has to shoot 91 per cent or 113 targets of 125 to qualify.

"It's one of the hardest things to get into. Because the facilities are limited they have a quota as to how many can go. Watching the London Olympics only 36 can go."

Barnes, in the meantime, said he will be putting in the extra work.

"The focus right now is to get some sponsors who will be able to assist me in purchasing practise rounds," Barnes told the Observer.

He will then head to Florida, Scotland, and Mexico for a few competitions: "I'll be using those three events to really qualify for the Olympics," he said.

Members of the Jamaica Skeet Club compete using the new Canterbury International Trap equipment purchased by the JSC late last year.

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