The Target Sprint GB Festival took place this weekend and it was a huge success, with both national and international events on show at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex.
Target Sprint is a heart racing, exhilarating sport, which combines running and target shooting, athleticism with skill and accuracy, where the first past the post wins.
Despite only being introduce to the GB sporting calendar two years ago, the exciting sport of Target Sprint, with the support of Air Arms, has gone from strength-to-strength, to the point where the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), brought a leg of its World Tour to the Bristol this year.
Three separate events took place over three days at Yate, providing an opportunity for spectators to watch and gain an insight into the ‘sport for all’.
As well as the ISSF event which saw athletes travel to the UK to compete, British Shooting hosted the final of the Target Sprint National Series, as well as the Open GB Championships in which anyone could take part.
After the event, British Shooting Event and Commercial Co-ordinator, Gorgs Geikie, said: “I’m astounded by the speed at which Target Sprint has developed in Great Britain. There is a real demand for the sport. This growth is thanks largely to a fantastic team of volunteers who are rolling out events, coaching and engagement opportunities in the UK. As well as the tremendous support of the team at Air Arms.
“Having the first ISSF Target Sprint event in Great Britain was really exciting, as we are an organisation striving towards becoming a world-leading shooting nation.”
The ISSF World Tour Target Sprint event took place on the Saturday and featured some of the World’s top competitors from Germany and Great Britain – and the competition did not disappoint in terms of nail-biting drama, tension, and of course huge talent.
GB’s Morten Van Der Schee won the Men’s Junior category with a time of 5 mins 07 seconds, with compatriots Arno Turner and Isaac Steel winning silver and bronze respectively.
Arno also represented GB at Senior Men’s level in which he won gold with a time of 5 mins 17 seconds. Germany’s Thomas Haslinger won silver and GB’s Oliver Vass won bronze.
In Junior Women, Germany took gold and silver thanks to fantastic performances from Madlen Guggenmos and Buschsieweke, with GB’s Poppy Clark winning bronze.
It was Germany’s Jana Landwehr who won gold in Senior Women with a time of 5 mins 38 seconds. Katie Robbins of GB won silver and Junior bronze medallist, Poppy Clark also won bronze in the seniors.
Germany also came out on top in the team events, winning gold in the Team Men, Team Women and Mixed Teams, with GB winning silver and bronze in the men’s and women’s events.
The Mixed Team event probably brought the most drama from the day, with GB’s Morten Van Der Schee and Poppy Clark sitting in fourth spot right up until the last hand over, in which Van Der Schee shot and ran incredibly to secure silver position.
Speaking after securing a whole host of medals during the event, Poppy said: “It’s been amazing. My shooting finally came together. All year we’ve been working on it and today it just clicked.
“The atmosphere here has been amazing. It’s such a good spectator sport and I just love that you can go into a shoot last and come out first, or the vice versa.”
Morten said: “I came in to the final shoot fourth and just nailed my shooting and ran the final lap in second position. It’s amazing when you know you’re in a medal position and you have to fight to hold onto it.
“Knowing that I had one of the German athletes behind me meant I had to focus, drive my arms and just go for it in the final straight. I was just thinking, ‘there’s no way I’m letting him pass me’, and it worked!”
The GB Target Sprint National Series 2018 had been bigger and better than ever, with seven qualifying events leading up to the final which took place on the Sunday.
The National Series is run over the standard 400m distance but shot on 49.5mm diameter targets. This gave an opportunity for a number of grass roots competitors to emulate their international counterparts from the day before, but it also allowed the opportunity for some of the internationals to return and compete for a second day.
The top five athletes from each of the qualifying events earlier in the year qualified for the final as they competed for Target Sprint National Champion.
The Senior Women’s title went to Stephanie Bradbury who won with a time of 7 mins 35 seconds. Stephanie Cooper took silver while Nicole Newton won bronze.
Oliver Vass was crowned the National Series Final Champion in the Senior Men’s category with a time of 5 mins 5 seconds. Silver went to Paul O’Callaghan and bronze to Paul Skuse.
In the Youth Women’s category, it was 14-year-old Isabel Moore who won gold with a time of 6 mins 2 seconds, Jenna Culshaw won silver and Caitlin Keaney won bronze.
Youth men was such a close fought race that a dead-heat was called and the gold medal went to both Harrison Pepper and Jonathan Williams, with an equal time of 5 mins 20 seconds. Tom Gray from Exeter School won bronze.
In Junior Women, Araminta Stubbs won gold with a time of 5 mins 35 seconds. Emily Treacher won silver and Victoria Bradbury won bronze.
The final event of the day prompted some truly fantastic times from the Junior Men, with Arno Turner finishing with a time of 4 mins 47 seconds and winning gold. John Trotman won silver with a score of 4 mins 50 seconds, and Isaac Steel was just behind with a score of 4 mins 51 seconds.