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On Target: Where Next For Shooting After The Rio 2016 Olympics?

For the wider British public Amber Hill may be the most recognisable face shooting at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but how many have considered pulling the trigger themselves?

What is Clay Shooting? How Can I Try Clay Shooting? Find My Nearest Ground





Out of the 28 different sports at the 2016 Olympics, few could boast to have crowned a 15 year-old as a World Champion who was competing against rivals 20 years their senior. Now aged 18, this is exactly the case for Amber Hill who heads to her first Olympics alongside 44 year-old compatriot and rival Elena Allen, with both ladies shooting Olympic Skeet for Team GB.

Shooting made its Olympic debut in 1896 at the Athens Olympics and 27 games later; Peter Wilson took Gold for Team GB in the Men’s Double Trap at London 2012. Aged 25, Peter was 13 years younger than the next finalist.

Age is no barrier in shooting. Indian air pistol shooter Prakash Nanjappa is testament to this, making his Olympic debut this summer at the age of 40.


Ian Peel was 42 when he won Silver in the Men’s Trap at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, he also went on to participate in his third Games in Athens in 2004. Meanwhile, five-time Olympian Richard Faulds was just 23 when he picked up Olympic Gold in the Double Trap in Sydney. 

Bob Braithwaite, Britain’s first Olympic Gold medallist for clay shooting was 43 when he shot his way to victory at the 1968 Mexico Games. Bob returned from Mexico as one of only three individual gold medallists for Great Britain at the Games. His score of 198 out of 200, shot in eight stages over two days was an extraordinary achievement – especially as he missed two targets in the first stage.

Whilst there are different types of shooting and clay pigeon shooting itself can be separated into 20 plus various forms of regulated competition – ultimately hitting clays means scoring points across all formats.


There are so few sports around that can be taken up at any age and enjoyed by all abilities, young, old, novice or top shot. It brings out the competitive nature in most people and the burning desire to hit the next target leaves the majority with a taste for more.

Beyond corporate days, Stag and Hen parties, shooting can now be enjoyed recreationally and quickly advanced to a competitive level if desired, whether that be at club, county or national level.

In late 2012 model and TV presenter Melanie Sykes first took up shooting. Instantly taken by the sport, she soon booked a lesson with Peter Wilson and then acquired multi-World Champion Ben Husthwaite as her coach, with the aim of shooting at the Olympics.


Four years down the line, and although the Olympic dream hasn’t been fulfilled by Melanie, she has still progressed to shoot at competition level. This is a prime example of an individual who has relished the competitive edge associated with the sport.


At Olympic level, everywhere you turn there are records to be made in shooting. For example, take American Double Trap and Skeet shooter Kim Rhode. Kim is a five-time Olympic medal winner, stretching back to Atlanta 1996 and at 37, still has numerous more Games for which she could qualify. 

If Kim did win another medal in Rio, she would stand alone at the top for most consecutive individual Olympic medals won at the Summer Olympics. Six medals would tie her for most all-time Olympic medals in shooting and double the all-time total of anyone else in the shotgun discipline. Kim’s achievements are comparable to that of Sir Steve Redgrave and she still has the chance to surpass Steve’s records. 

When London hosted the Olympics in 2012 they wanted to create a sporting legacy which included participation in schools and wider. Four years down the line, could the Rio Olympics be the catalyst to elevate shooting to a broader audience?

There are plenty of opportunities to take up shooting if the Olympic buzz has left you eager to pull the trigger. To find out more about the sport follow the buttons below.


What is Clay Shooting? How Can I Try Clay Shooting? Find My Nearest Ground

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