Young Gun wins gold at school clay tournament
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