Sue Swift from Information Services has been Field Target Shooting for just over four and a half years and this year with the help of Numark she took part in the World Field Target Championships, which was held in Glanusk, Wales.
The format of the World Championships was a five day event including a day of registration, on the Tuesday, which involved having your rifle, kneepads and jackets inspected and signed off. Wednesday would be a day in the zero range which was large enough to accommodate over 450 shooters from countries all over the world. Thursday, Friday and Saturday would hold a morning shoot then an afternoon shoot.
The top shooter classes including the lady competitors whilst juniors were taking part in the morning sessions over the three days.
The briefing for these started at 7.45am so that competitors could walk to the start lane for 8am to compete until around 2pm. Each competitor had three minutes to walk into the gate (the posts), put the cushion down, locate the target, and range find the distance then, load the gun and knock both of the targets down. Only one shot per target is allowed and ranges of the targets vary from 10 yards to 55 yards and diameter of the kill 10mm,15mm and 30mm. Disciplines are standing and kneeling.
If you get the wrong range of the target your pellet will go either high or low and miss, and just as importantly if the wind is blowing which it does a lot in sunny old Great Britain you have to aim your cross hairs off the kill area. Allow too much, or not enough, or the wind drops and you will miss.
Day one was on the white course, starting on lane 18 targets 35 and 36. The rain was pouring down; luckily with the white targets you could see them a little bit easier as the course designers had tucked them amongst branches etc. I used the rain to my advantage to see which way the wind was blowing and I tried to aim off the kill enough and prayed that the wind did not drop, so I would not miss completely.
I was nervous, nerves are a key part; too many nerves and I can see my pulse fluctuation the aim of the sight up and down on my arm, no nerves and your mind is not sharp enough to shoot.
The rain continued to make things harder than usual with the scope and my glasses steaming up. The ground became muddy but I was shooting unusually well. Nick Jenkins, a well-known field target shooter who had won the world championships a record number of times, asked me how I was doing as he was in the lane next to me.
I advised eight misses and ten targets to go and I was feeling very sick as I knew I was doing well. I asked him how he was doing and he said he had already at least 16 down; I felt even sicker then. I finished on a 41/50 at which I was over the moon. The highest in was a four from the world champ last year. Happy was an understatement.
After day one, I was lying second in World the ladies, I knew that this was not going to last as Paula from England was lying first who had finished on an eight. (Misses)
Day two was on the black course, we were to start on target 18. I started off amazingly well I went from target 35-50 without missing one, which included sanders and kneelers. Then as we headed to lane one the problems started, every time I sat down over 40mph wind hit. I was coming off at least 30cm-60cm and it was not enough or a pellet width too much.
It was frustrating when for a 30 yard stander I was off at least two foot to the right of the plate and I missed completely, the pellet went sailing down the left hand side into thin air. I finished on a 34 but I had shot better than on the first day, no silly mistakes. I would have to go some on the last day to realise my dream of the top ten in the ladies category.
Day three was on the yellow course, we were all a bit jaded and tired from the 5am starts. The wind was strong aiming a kill or two kill widths to the left of the kill. Aiming for the edge of kill was not enough and would take you sailing to the right of the kill a dink which would be a miss. I was giving it my best shot in more ways than one with another score achieved with only 11 misses, I was over the moon.
The shoot offs were taking place in the afternoon so it would be a long wait to see where I had come over all with the results ceremony in the evening.
Jack Harris from Wales was the first ever back-to-back champion, Ana Parara had finished 1st in the ladies and I had fulfilled a dream which ranked me 5th lady shooter in the world and my score was 23rd highest, ranking me 77th overall. With Numark’s sponsorship a dream had become a reality and my cup runeth over.