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In the Press: Olympic shooting hopeful Charlotte Kerwood in Metro

Shooting Olympic hopeful Charlotte Kerwood will be writing a regular column for Metro in the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics. Today sees her first column as part of the newspaper’s Games coverage featuring an Olympic diary and columnists to keep readers up to date with training etc.

‘With less than two years until the Olympics begin in London, the prospect of competing on home soil has started to become very real.

In every competition and training session the excitement is building as I work increasingly hard to ensure I am representing Great Britain in the shooting arena at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. Some people struggle with the pressure of performing in front of a home crowd but I find the support motivates me.

Admittedly, the Olympic trap is not the best-known event, but it is one becoming increasingly popular as the sport of clay-target shooting develops in this country.

In this discipline there are three different clay traps hidden underground in front of the shooting position.  Clay targets are fired from the traps in varying directions away from the shooter. The targets exit the traps at around 60mph and their direction is random, so it is important to be on your toes at all times.  As far as my year has gone, it has been distinctly up and down on the World Cup circuit, with my best result a sixth place in Italy.

In total, I completed five selection shoots this year and finished as British No.1, which ensured my qualification for the first three World Cup events (there are four in total) in 2011 – beginning in the Chilean city of Concepcion before moving on to Sydney and, afterwards, Beijing.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t selected for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, which was a massive blow as I won gold in Manchester in 2002 and Melbourne four years later. That said, the nature of sport is that every shot counts and, unfortunately, during the trials I had one bad day and missed out.

Having put that behind me, my focus is purely on 2012.  Olympic selection is determined by results in the World Cup, so I have targeted at least one podium finish in a bid to secure my place on Team GB.

British Shooting recently fell victim to budget cuts following the 2008 Beijing Games.  However, a lot of hard work has been put in to secure funding for eight shooters ahead of the Olympics, and I am so thankful I benefit from this.

This support has also meant we have access to some top sports science specialists, from psychologists to nutritionists, which has really helped develop my training regime. At the moment my training is varied, depending on the weather; when it is nice I shoot outside, but when it isn’t I work on my fitness.

It comes as a surprise to many people that physical conditioning is an important factor in this sport.  Shotguns are surprisingly heavy, so maintaining concentration and stamina is difficult if you are unfit.’

  • Age: 24
  • Born: Cuckfield, West Sussex.
  • Event: Olympic trap.
  • London 2012 chances: Kerwood is considered one of Britain’s top shooting medal hopes despite not qualifying for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
  • Began shooting: 1998 at her parents’ shooting ground.
  • Began competiing: 2002.
  • British ranking: One.
  • Greatest achievement: Becoming the 2002 Commonwealth double trap gold-medallist at the age of 15.
  • Other honours: 2002 European double trap champion; 2006 Commonwealth double trap pairs gold-medallist (with Rachel Parish); 2007 World Cup trap silver-medallist (Dominican Republic); 2007 World Cup trap bronze-medallist (Italy).

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