Throughout the month of August, British Shooting was actively situated in the heart of three of the British Olympic Association's Fanzone events across the country. Participants at the Fanzones in Plymouth, Leeds and Bristol were able to give 10m Laser Rifle and Pistol shooting a go, gain insight into the sport of shooting itself and celebrate our Olympic athletes in Rio, while watching live broadcasting of the Games.
The Plymouth Fanzone corresponded with the first day of Olympic competition, where our own Jen McIntosh competed in Women's Air Rifle and the first shooting medal was awarded in Rio. Reaching up to 178 participants, the event saw 7 local clubs represented, including special guests such as the Assistant Mayor and a Silver Medallist Special Olympian. The event catered to all levels, from grassroots to more experienced athletes, and the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The next Fanzone attended by British Shooting took place in Leeds on August 13th, which marked the last day of shooting competition for the 2016 Games. With the help of Commonwealth Gold Medallist Anita North, the team were joined by over 120 participants to celebrate the success of the athletes in Rio throughout that week.
The final Fanzone event took place on August 17th, reaching over 200 participants with the help of 6 volunteers from 5 local shooting and Modern Pentathlon Clubs. Special guests included Karen Butler, five-time Paralympian Rifle shooter. The excitement and energy of the day's activity was captured by BBC Points West and showed in the Rio Round- Up that evening.
British Shooting Event Coordinator Gorgs Geikie, remarked on the event's success:
“The combination of watching and following our Rio Shooting Stars and giving people a go and understanding of our sport at the grassroots, was a real pleasure and demonstrated to the general public the level of skill and training it takes to reach Olympic and Paralympic level. But equally, with a bit of hard work and dedication anyone can reach their best in our sport. It’s a true #Sport4All."
An enthusiastic participant shared their Fanzone experience, which re-ignited their passion for the sport:
“I used to shoot in the sea cadets here in Plymouth, but stopped when I left to go to university. I’ve been back now in Plymouth for a year and had forgotten how much I enjoyed shooting until I tried it again today. I’m so glad I came. Having chatted with the guys here today, I now realize there’s a club just down the road from me which I think I’ll drop into after work.”
Without the work of volunteers, the three-day event would not have been such a success. On behalf of the team, Gorgs Geikie stated
“Without the fabulous help of our volunteers from the local shooting clubs coming to help at each of the events, none of British Shooting’s activity delivery would have been possible. A big thank you for all your support not only on the day, but before and especially afterwards when following up with all the interested participants who wish to continue with the sport of shooting.”