Daniel J. Har­ris re­ports from a truly mag­nif­i­cent 2017 field tar­get World Cham­pi­onships

Airgun World - - Ft World Championships -

Septem­ber was a truly mem­o­rable month in the sport of FT shoot­ing, as the World Field Tar­get Fed­er­a­tion vis­ited Wales for the 2017 World Cham­pi­onships. Over 350 com­peti­tors trav­elled from 29 dif­fer­ent coun­tries in their quest to con­quer the field tar­get world and take home a prize in the PCP, Springer, Ju­nior, Se­nior, Fe­male or Team cat­e­gories.

Af­ter a fan­tas­tic event held by Por­tu­gal in 2016, a new World Cham­pion was crowned.

Welsh­man, Jack Har­ris, shot his way into the his­tory books as the first Welsh WFTF World Champ and this Septem­ber he had the hon­our of de­fend­ing his crown on home soil, only a few miles away from his home­town. For 18 months, the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee in Wales toiled, met, de­bated, planned, or­gan­ised, ar­gued, con­cluded and struc­tured the big­gest-ever WFTF World Cham­pi­onships, and now that the event has come to a suc­cess­ful close, each and ev­ery mem­ber of the team feels a tremen­dous sense of pride hav­ing show­cased Wales and Welsh hos­pi­tal­ity to the world.


The WFTF Worlds is a very spe­cial event in the FT cal­en­dar. Each and ev­ery year, shoot­ers from all over the world meet, greet, rekin­dle old friend­ships and en­joy some great com­pany, whilst try­ing to out­shoot each other

and make a name for them­selves. The com­pe­ti­tion is al­ways tough – this year even more so – but there’s still al­ways a warm, wel­com­ing and friendly feel­ing amongst com­peti­tors, wher­ever the com­pe­ti­tion is held. This year, John John­ston and his team wanted to en­sure they found a lo­ca­tion that al­lowed for a great time, a great shoot, and show­cased the beauty of Wales.

Af­ter sev­eral vis­its to lo­ca­tions across South Wales they set­tled on the amaz­ing Glanusk Es­tate. Sit­u­ated in one of Wales’ des­ig­nated ar­eas of out­stand­ing nat­u­ral beauty, and home of the Green Man Fes­ti­val, the es­tate sits on the edge of the Bre­con Bea­cons Na­tional Park and along the banks of the River Usk. With over 400 acres of wood­land and open park­land and ma­ture oak trees and sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful Welsh moun­tains, it pro­vided the per­fect set­ting.


The Welsh have a great tra­di­tion in field tar­get, hav­ing won the Team prize at the 2015 Worlds in Lithua­nia and sev­eral run­ners up, in­clud­ing Jack Har­ris’ 2nd that same year, in front of team­mates Mark Bas­sett in 4th, Doz Falconer 5th; Richie Beaugie’s 2nd in New Zealand 2014; Si­mon Evans’ 3rd in Nor­way 2012. Un­til 2016, Wales were al­ways the brides­maid and never the bride and be­cause the FT world was look­ing at Wales, the Welsh were keen to shine.

The key ob­jec­tive for WAFTA was to pro­vide a safe and in­ci­dent-free com­pe­ti­tion, to en­sure that all con­tenders com­peted within the rules for a fair cham­pi­onship, and that all vis­i­tors en­joyed their time in Wales. The sup­port from the global FT com­mu­nity and the WFTF has been fan­tas­tic, with all push­ing to­ward cre­at­ing a fan­tas­tic tour­na­ment. John’s at­ten­tion to de­tail and his abil­ity to project man­age has been worth its weight in gold with the amount of work that is re­quired to pull to­gether a com­pe­ti­tion of this size, and now the dust has set­tled, ev­ery­thing went as smoothly as could be and that plan­ning and prep’ work was all put to good use.

Along­side John there was an ex­pe­ri­enced and pas­sion­ate team. Grad­ing Of­fi­cer for the BFTA, Si­mon Evans, as­sumed the role of Chief Mar­shall, as well as course builder for Wales 2017, and of­fi­cial pho­tog­ra­pher. 2014 and 2015 Vet­eran World Cham­pion, Richie Beaugie, brought his ex­pe­ri­ence of 13 World Cham­pi­onships to the team and sup­ported John through­out.


WAFTA Com­pe­ti­tion Man­ager, Doz Falconer, was in­volved in course de­sign and build­ing, the Zero Range and Sil­hou­ette Com­pe­ti­tion, and was our ‘wacky’ ideas man. Hav­ing been in the top ten in 18 dif­fer­ent WFTCs, with a best place 2nd, Doz brings char­ac­ter and ex­pe­ri­ence to the team.

Mark ‘Ber­tie’ Bas­sett, the Chair­man of the Bri­tish Field Tar­get As­so­ci­a­tion, headed up the spon­sor­ship team with sup­port from me – Fo­cus Shift Films’ Daniel J. Har­ris. Ber­tie has been work­ing with brands from across the globe and air­gun spec­trum to pro­vide the great­est amount of prizes ever on of­fer at a World Cham­pi­onships.

The or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee also wanted to en­sure that the lo­ca­tion gave a great ac­count of Wales and wowed vis­i­tors from around the world. The team knew that this was a chance to show off our beau­ti­ful lit­tle coun­try, but it needed to be big enough for the event – as beau­ti­fully ex­plained by Mr Falconer.

“Ev­ery­thing in Wales is 100 years old and built for lit­tle peo­ple – not Ber­tie and Doz!”

Once the venue was se­lected, the course de­signed and the wheels put into mo­tion, John John­ston had another big headache on his hands – reg­is­tra­tion. Tra­di­tion­ally, a long-winded and la­bo­ri­ous process, John wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent. He worked to cre­ate an on-line reg­is­tra­tion plat­form that many scoffed at, but once it went live it made reg­is­tra­tion a pain­less process. The avail­able po­si­tions were taken up very quickly, so peo­ple be­gan to join the re­serves list. Never has a World Cham­pi­onships had so many com­peti­tors – but it wasn’t all plain sailing.

‘I spent a lot of sleep­less nights try­ing to get a mar­quee at a rea­son­able cost, af­ter we re­alised we were the vic­tims of our own suc­cess and the pre­sen­ta­tion venue would not be able to hold us all!’ Richard Beaugie.


The sup­port from the air­gun world was also amaz­ing, and the value of the prizes on of­fer and the gifts pro­vided in the wel­come packs ex­ceeded £70,000. Air Arms, Steyr, Le­upold and sev­eral others have been huge sup­port­ers of the com­pe­ti­tion of­fer­ing big prizes for the top shoot­ers. Steyr had their re­pair team on site; Air Arms brought their shoot­ing ranges, and Daystate pro­vided air for the event. For the first time, Le­upold spon­sored a WFTF World Cham­pi­onships and pro­vided on-site sup­port, a prize and be­came of­fi­cial video spon­sors.

High­land Out­doors do­nated a Nikko Stir­ling Di­a­mond scope, 50 tins of pel­lets and £500-worth of Ridge­line cloth­ing; Op­tics Ware­house also sup­plied a tele­scopic sight for the event; BASC do­nated £1,000 and sup­plied a stand. There was a range of other prizes and gifts com­ing from; Daystate, Chi­appa, Umarex, Armex, Ata­man Ri­fles, Sch­midt and Ben­der, Kahles, Vor­tex Op­tics, Sightron, Hawke Op­tics, Rowan En­gi­neer­ing, Ten Point Nine Tai­lor­ing, JSB Pel­lets, Aim­field Sports, Sports Match, Sure Shot, H&N Sports, AJP En­gi­neer­ing, Mae­stro De­signs, Aqua­graphix, Shoot­ing the Breeze, Flip Tar­gets, LT Airguns, and Sol­ware; Air Chrony was the of­fi­cial chrono­graph sup­plier for the WFTC Wales 2017. The amount of prizes and gifts avail­able is

tes­ta­ment to the work of Ber­tie.

‘It has been a stress­ful process, as I’m sure ev­ery­one in­volved in or­gan­is­ing an event this size would un­der­stand, but I’m look­ing for­ward to hav­ing the event in Wales and show­ing off the sport in a way it de­serves.’ Mark Bas­sett


Day One of the shoot brought wind and rain, but for the rest of it the weather was as good as can be dur­ing Septem­ber in Wales. Jack Har­ris scored 46, 46 and 47 (139) across the three days to put him ahead of fel­low Welsh­man, Doz Falconer, by one shot, even with Red Gal­lagher clear­ing the more dif­fi­cult black course on the third day. 2013 World Cham­pion, John Costello, fin­ished in third with 137. As we went into the fi­nal day, sev­eral men could’ve taken that PCP World Champ ti­tle, but cur­rent cham­pion, Jack, shot beau­ti­fully to pip Doz to the top spot. Doz and Jack were shoot­ing for Air Arms, so com­pany Di­rec­tor, Claire West, was very happy with the re­sults!

‘Lit­tle Jack’, as he’s known in the FT world, has been con­grat­u­lated by friends across the world who never thought it pos­si­ble for any shooter in the cur­rent crop to achieve back-to-back World Cham­pi­onships.

A tremen­dous amount of thought and hard work went into this in­cred­i­ble event, and we re­ally hope that ev­ery­one had an amaz­ing time. Go to the WFTF World Cham­pi­onships, Wales 2017, Face­book page for more pho­tos and videos: www.face­ WFTFWorldCham­pi­onship­sWales2017 I

The prac­tice range was packed with shoot­ers from all over the world.

Lit­tle Jack just needed this fi­nal tar­get to claim an un­prece­dented back-to-back vic­tory.

John Far­brother con­sid­ers his op­tions in the shoot-out.

The glo­ri­ous Glanusk Es­tate.

The 2017 World Cham­pi­onships was a truly global event!

Jack, a de­lighted Air Arms Di­rec­tor, Claire West, and an un­der­stand­ably ex­hausted Doz Falconer.

Jack came back - and won it again!

Doz presents top Ju­nior, Dy­lan Var­ney, with his well-earned tro­phy.

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