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Shooter takes aim at medals

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Shooter takes aim at medals

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She loves to be in control and she loves a challenge. Claire King said being involved in shooting satisfied those feelings.
This 24-year-old shooter, who has been a member of the Barbados Rifle and Pistol Federation for the past two years, said from the time she was a child she had always been interested in “weapons”.
“I grew up as a tomboy. I was always interested in things like weapons. I used to make gutterperks from wood at home and I was the only girl who played with the boys. When I was growing up I wanted to join the cadets and my mother stopped me. She told me to do something more ladylike, so that was thwarted,” said the young lady.
King shoots the air pistol and .22 sport pistol. The shooting of these two guns is among the disciplines for female shooters under the International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF).
“I always wanted to be able to represent Barbados and do something for my country . . . and I know this is an avenue which would allow me to do that.”
 She said a part of her motivation came from her shooting partner Ronald Sargeant. King said he would get her to continue whenever she felt “down”.
King said all was not smooth sailing, though, as one week things could be very good and other times “you could be all over the place”, but ironically, that was why she also liked the sport.
“I think I like it because it is challenging. I tried shooting a Glock 9 and the first time I took up that gun I shot all 50 shots in the bull (bulls eye) and I was like, wow,” said the enthusiastic shooter.
After finishing her probation classes in February 2009, King was ready for “war”. Her first regional competition came about three months later during the Cibel d’Or regional shooting competition, at which she won a bronze medal.
“I shot my second highest score I have ever shot in my life. So because I got success so quickly it really encouraged me to go on. I also realised that it is challenging to get back there. I only ever shot that score again about six or seven times in the year because it is a mental sport and anything can affect you.
“If you are having stress or things on your mind and you bring all of that into shooting, it really throws off your aim. We like to say shooting is 95 per cent mental and five per cent talent.
King has also competed in other big games.
“I brought all of those nerves there and as a result my hands were going all over the place so I didn’t do as well as I wanted. But we won a team bronze in Copa last year in Martinique and a team silver in Cibel d’Or,” she quipped.
King, who is a teacher by profession, attended Erdiston Primary School, Christ Church Foundation School and the Barbados Community College, after which she attended the University of the West Indies where she earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in literatures in English and a minor in education.
She said she had had a passion for teaching since attending primary school and now teaches at the Alleyne School, after starting out at Christ Church Foundation.
King is now the youngest person shooting with the Barbados Rifle and Pistol Federation. She said shooting was all she did these days with her free time.
“If I am not shooting, I am home sleeping. I think right now shooting is my hobby. I do that in all of my free time. I get up on mornings and go to the gym, go to school and after school I go to the range and then home. And on weekends I am at the range, so it is my hobby – it is all I do right now,” smiled King.
She said the sport was an opportunity to travel, meet new people and experience other cultures around the world. King, who has travelled about four times since she started shooting, said she was looking forward to visiting Santo Domingo, Mexico and possibly Brazil as she and some of her shooting colleagues compete next year.
Noting that shooting was an expensive sport, King advised those interested to get involved at an early age “so they would have a longer span to progress and grow in it”.
She said there was never one type of feeling when shooting.
“I get mixed feelings because it is so challenging to perfect shooting. You cannot only get one emotion doing shooting. I think it is kind of empowering because you are in full control. . . it is a little frustrating when I can’t get the shot I want, but when I am able to get a bull it is extremely fulfilling.
“The worst part is when I put in all the preparation and I come to a match having prepared the way I think I should and nothing goes right for me . . . something like nerves get in the way,” she explained.
“It is a challenge trying to continuously perfect this art and I think I like it. . . but if I had started it and was failing I probably wouldn’t have continued,” she said.
King has also competed in other big games.
“I have taken part in other regional annual competitions, the Copa and the CAC games that recently concluded. That was my first big competition with all the other countries. When I got on that stage I was very nervous.