Achar­a­cle shooter rel­ishes fifth Scot­tish ti­tle

The Oban Times - - Sports -

A CLAY tar­get shooter from Achar­a­cle has said that his fifth vic­tory at the Scot­tish cham­pi­onship is prob­a­bly his favourite so far.

De­spite hav­ing not trained for the com­pe­ti­tion, and suf­fer­ing from a chronic arthritic con­di­tion, John Mac­Don­ald took top spot in the Olympic Trap Scot­tish Cham­pi­onship with a score of 169 af­ter two days of tight com­pe­ti­tion at the Na­tional Shoot­ing Centre in Falkirk.

The for­mer Com­mon­wealth Games com­peti­tor has cut back on train­ing and com­pe­ti­tion in the past three years, although this didn’t stop the 38-year- old from re­claim­ing the Scot­tish ti­tle.

John said: ‘I had done a lot of shoot­ing and ded­i­cated a lot of time and ef­fort to get to the Com­mon­wealth Games in 2014, so I’ve taken my foot off the gas a bit now. I’m not re­tired but I’m treat­ing it as just a hobby again. I just turned up to the Scot­tish Cham­pi­onship with my gun case and won. I think some of the other shoot­ers were a bit miffed.’

Emo­tional

He con­tin­ued: ‘This is prob­a­bly my favourite win in the Scot­tish Cham­pi­onships. I was even quite emo­tional, which isn’t like me.’

Among John’s com­peti­tors were pro­fes­sional shoot­ers who re­ceive fund­ing and coach­ing, train­ing reg­u­larly through the week. Hav­ing spent nine years work­ing to a sim­i­lar regime, es­pe­cially in the run up to the most re­cent Com­mon­wealth Games, John says he prefers to take a more re­laxed ap­proach to his shoot­ing.

‘I’ve never needed vast amount of train­ing,’ John ex­plained. ‘I’m more of a nat­u­ral shooter. I pre­fer just shoot­ing and treat­ing it as a hobby. That’s not to say it was easy – it was very tight. The new Na­tional Shoot­ing Centre ground is pun­ish­able and the weather con­di­tions were vari­able, which may have suited me in the end be­cause I work in the hills.’

The vic­tory fur­ther ce­ments John’s rep­u­ta­tion as one of the best clay tar­get shoot­ers of his gen­er­a­tion, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the cir­cum­stances of the win. Not only had he come into the com­pe­ti­tion with­out train­ing, John suf­fers from a form of arthri­tis that makes stand­ing for long pe­ri­ods and shoot­ing over a full day very un­com­fort­able.

He ex­plained: ‘This year, the cir­cum­stances have been that bit tougher as my con­di­tion has im­peded my shoot­ing. I’ve been strug­gling a lot with it and, although my per­for­mances have im­proved, I’m shoot­ing with a lot of pain.’

Af­ter cut­ting back on his shoot­ing, John has found a bit more time to help his wife Emma run the fam­ily busi­ness, Min­garry Park Ho­tel and restau­rant near Achar­a­cle, and to pre­pare for the ar­rival of his sec­ond child, which is due later this year.

Although buoyed by the re­cent vic­tory, when asked about a re­turn to shoot­ing on a more full-time ba­sis, John said: ‘Pro­fes­sional shoot­ing is al­lur­ing be­cause it’s a great life­style but things have changed a lot. With an­other wee one on the way I’ll be tak­ing it easy and just treat it as a hobby. The past nine years I’ve been leav­ing a lot to my wife Emma in the ho­tel so I’m look­ing for­ward to fo­cus­ing on that more. Be­ing a pro­fes­sional shooter didn’t re­ally suit me and I don’t want to train ev­ery day. If I do any­more shoot­ing, it’ll be on my own terms.’

John in ac­tion in the Olympic Trap com­pe­ti­tion.

John with his tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Olympic Trap Scot­tish Cham­pi­onship at the Na­tional Shoot­ing Centre in Falkirk.

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