Young Gun wins gold at school clay tour­na­ment

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

An 11-year-old school­girl who first picked up a shot­gun just two months ago has won a gold medal at the In­de­pen­dent As­so­ci­a­tion of Prep Schools (IAPS) Clay Pi­geon Tour­na­ment, held at the West Lon­don Shooting School on 4 May.

Bethany Nor­ton, a pupil at Dun­combe School in Hert­ford, said she had set her­self a tar­get sim­ply to “not come last”. Af­ter a morn­ing of shooting across five clay dis­ci­plines, she was de­lighted to be named the un­der-11s fe­male cham­pion, and amazed to learn her score was higher than the cham­pion in the age cat­e­gory above, as well as beat­ing “many of the boys”.

The promis­ing young Gun com­mented: “Af­ter watch­ing shooting at the Olympic and Com­mon­wealth games I no­ticed it was a sport that Eng­land does well at. I also no­ticed we had few fe­male com­peti­tors. So I thought why not give it a go? Af­ter a cou­ple of taster ses­sions at Lea Val­ley Shooting Ground I was hooked. I hit the first few clays and loved it.

“There is a lot more to think about than you might think, and the lan­guage is a bit con­fus­ing — eye dom­i­nance, teal, cross­ing birds and so on — but it is a great feel­ing to smash a clay that’s quickly dis­ap­pear­ing away from you, be­tween the trees.”

She added: “I have to ad­mit I was a lit­tle ner­vous watch­ing the schools ar­rive in larger squads with their in­struc­tors and kit — com­pared with me and my dad.

“Clubs all over the UK are try­ing to en­cour­age girls to try shooting, and we have a few lo­cal fe­male shoot­ers who could rep­re­sent the coun­try in the fu­ture, so I know I have to im­prove — which means a lot more prac­tice, some coach­ing and even­tu­ally some spe­cial­ist equipment.”

Hay­ley Varney, head of sport at Dun­combe School, said of the win: “I am not sur­prised that Bethany is the IAPS un­der-11 fe­male na­tional clay pi­geon shooting cham­pion. She has al­ways shown great de­ter­mi­na­tion and pas­sion for sport and has never sweated the small stuff. She’s a real in­spi­ra­tion to us all.”

Bethany is the IAPS un­der-11 fe­male clay shooting cham­pion

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