May 16, 2013 Sports Comments Off on Guyanese marksmen retain title following testing conditions
Taking a gauge from the conditions that the competitors had to endure during the Individual Championships, it was always going to be tough going in the Long Range Championships and as the old adage goes, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going’.
And that was basically how the defending Fullbore Long Range Champions of the Caribbean, Guyana, approached yesterday’s West Indies Fullbore Rifle Shooting Council (WIFRSC), Milex sponsored Long Range Championship at the Paragon Ranges, Christ Church, Barbados.
When the final shot was fired after One Hour and 15 Minutes of aiming with each nation’s eight (8) member team firing two (2) sighting shots and ten (10) shots to count; and the scores being tallied, the marksmen from the Land of Many Waters emerged as champions yet again beating out Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados.
Guyana’s victory came against the backdrop of some difficult conditions which of course, all the other teams had to endure but at the end of it all, the Guyanese prevailed owing to some high level strategizing, the experience of the shooters and admirable teamwork.
The countries shot in pairs at both the 900 and 1000 Yards Banks and unlike the Individual competition, both shooters had the expertise of a Wind Coach. Starting off the day for Guyana aiming at the targets were Caribbean Individual King Lennox Braithwaite and overall 3rd place Individual finisher who is also National Captain, Mahendra Persaud.
Seated in the Coaches chairs were ACP Paul Slowe and Ransford Goodluck, the experience of the starters in both instances not only brought a calm to the Guyanese’ focus, but one could have felt the level of confidence that was flowing through the camp and other shooters who were awaiting their turn to aim. The constant changing winds, commonly known as ‘Fish Tailing’, showed no signs of abating.
At the end of the 900 Yards shoot, Guyana accumulated 349 Points with 15 V-Bulls, a score which underlines the difficulties that faced all and sundry on the day. Ransford Goodluck led the scoring for Guyana with 46 Points and 3V-Bulls. Jamaica was trailing Guyana at this stage by a single point.
Conditions did not change at the 1000 Yards Range, but as is the norm, the Guyana team huddled together before the start and then it was suggested that some changes should be made to the order of shooting. It was readily agreed, so changes were made to who would start and who would follow.
It turned out to be a master move as the seasoned gunners were able to come at the end to steady the scores in some tricky conditions; that made the difference as Guyana eased to victory totaling one point less than the 900 Yards Range with a similar amount of V-Bulls.
The shooters from Reggae Island, who were the closest threat to the lads from the Land of Many Waters, found the going even tougher dropping some 75 points to end way off the Guyanese total with 673 Points and 28 V-Bulls to Guyana’s 697 Points and 30V-Bulls.
Trinidad and Tobago tallied 632 Points and 25V-Bulls, while Antigua & Barbuda managed 595 Points and 15 V-Bulls. No scores were available for the home team, Barbados.
Captain Mahendra Persaud speaking with Kaieteur Sport after the win, stated that the score was not a true reflection of how hard his team worked due to the difficult conditions which presented its fair amount of challenges for them.
“Seeing conditions were difficult, wind conditions were difficult but at the end of the day, the shooters and coaches did an excellent job. The scores do not look fantastic as we would like it to be, but reality is realty. It was a difficult day, even the British found it difficult but I am satisfied with how it all ended up.”
Persaud reminded that they still have a job to complete with the Short Range Championships set to take place today at the same venue.
“I would say that we showed the ability to buckle down and deliver under pressure whilst remaining focus were wonderful attributes that we displayed in retaining the trophy. And this is where picking an experienced team worked for us.”
Coach Paul Slowe echoed his Captain’s sentiments on the extremely difficult conditions as the scores reflects, noting that it was the first time that any team would have won the Long Range trophy shooting less than 700 points.
“At the end of the day however, we aimed to do our best and I think we achieved that given the conditions. Our performance was better than the other teams and that’s what it’s all about. We have a good team that have good shooters and experienced Wind Coaches. We are better shooters at the Long Range as a team and that is what brought us through today (yesterday)”.
Slowe was quick to point out that yesterday’s win is now history and his charges must now refocus on retaining the Short Range trophy today. He is expecting stiffer competition today, noting that he expects the rivaling countries to bring their A game.
“We have the physiological advantage but that is nothing until you go down and deliver.”
Guyana is expected to field an unchanged team for today’s match. Following the Short Range match, attention will turn to the Australia match set for Saturday with the West Indies fielding a team which will be captained by ACP Paul Slowe.
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