Shaun Barnes brings into his sights successful shooting season

Shaun Barnes brings into his sights successful shooting season

Friday, October 16, 2020

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Though shooters missed a few months of training and competition due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, six-time national shotgun champion Shaun Barnes believes the upcoming season should still be competitive enough to test his mettle, as he takes aim at a seventh title.

Barnes, who as of late, has been spending most of his time offering shooting enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the sport, says he is eagerly looking forward to the 10-month-long season with great optimism and a few overseas tournaments also in his line of sight.

“Mentally, I am fine... what I have been doing over the past couple of weeks is trying to prepare as many people as I possibly can, because just like [former national coach] Khaleel Azan, I have now ventured off into a different area, where I am not only a competitor,” he revealed.

“I am still trying to attain all the goals that I have set out for myself, but I have also started to impart as much knowledge as I possibly can to other competitors through training.

“Because I have gained a lot of knowledge from my experiences as a competitor and working alongside Olympians and World Champions, and I believe sharing my knowledge will be very beneficial to persons who are looking to enter the sport and who have already had experience with shooting and are aiming to take their game to a different level,” Barnes told the Jamaica Observer.

He continued: “So going into the season, I feel very confident. I think that if I was to pay more attention to myself like it was in the past then everything would be basically where it needs to be. But because I am basically sharing my time with students, it is a new learning experience for me in terms of understanding how to balance what is needed to be the best competitor as well as a consistent and informative coach.

“So right now I am going through a different phase, which as soon as I have mastered, I am sure that I will be able to not only give my best and win another national championship, but to continue to make Jamaica proud in my competitions overseas.”

The recent reopening of the Portmore, St Catherine-based Jamaica Skeet Club (JSC) with strict health and safety protocols being enforced, paved the way for the season to go ahead with the Bernard Cridland Memorial set for November 1, being the first major tournament on the calendar.

Sporting Clays action will culminate in July 2021 with the premier, two-day, All Jamaica competition.

Barnes lauded president Jordan Samuda and his executive for implementing the robust protocols to create a safe environment for all and sundry to once again enjoy the sport.

One aspect of the safety measure is to have shooters contest the tournaments in two groups — one in the morning and the other in the evening, with shooters departing immediately upon completion of the course.

“I am pleased that Jamaica Skeet Club has implemented measures in keeping with guidelines presented by the Government of Jamaica. So going into the new season, I feel safe and I think that it will allow, not only myself, but all the other competitors to worry less about the virus and perform to the best of their abilities,” Barnes noted.

“Though it minimises the interaction and socialising aspect which we are accustomed to in our sport, it still gives us the opportunity to compete. The only disadvantage might be the weather, which could go bad at either time of the day,” he added.

Unlike some sports, Barnes believes social distancing is quite easy where shooting is concerned, and Jamaicans should utilise the local competitions to hone their skills and gather enough experience and momentum for overseas tournaments.

That said, Barnes, who represented the island at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, pointed out that he is gunning for possible participation at the Florida-based Gator Cup tournament early next year, with hopes of topping the AA class and moving into the master class.

The Gator Cup is known for hosting some 1,000 shooters from around the world.

“I would love to participate in February; I don't know if it is too early to say, but I am setting a goal and it is all dependent on how things materialise and so forth,” the shooting stalwart noted.

“So as of right now, I am focusing on the Caribbean Cup and the Gator Cup, but if it has to be delayed, I will certainly put off everything until later next year,” Barnes ended.

— Sherdon Cowan

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