The dress rehearsal to next year’s Commonwealth Games Shooting championships concluded at the Belmont Shooting Centre in Brisbane, Australia with the Guyanese pair of Lennox Braithwaite and Fullbore Captain Mahendra Persaud ending in 6th and 8th place respectively of 27 of the best shooters in the world.
Competing at the same venue where next year’s Commonwealth Games (CG) will be held, Braithwaite and Persaud have once again proven and displayed the class and talent of Guyana at the highest level in the world, Guyana being the reigning Caribbean Short and Long Range Champions with Persaud the Top Individual shot in the Caribbean.
Braithwaite ended with a Grand Aggregate of 394 Points and 40 V bulls, while Persaud
tallied a similar amount of points with 24 V Bulls.
The winner of the event was David Luckman of England with a score of 399.39 followed by Petrus Haasbroek of South Africa with the same points and 32 Vs. Third was Australian Jim Bailey (398.42), fourth, Parag Patel of England (396.38) and fifth, Jim Paton of Canada with a score of 394.41. Ben Emms of Australia also ended with a score of 394 but with 38 Vs just under Braithwaite and above Persaud.
Persaud in summing up the tour informed that it had started disastrously when they missed a connecting flight in Toronto last week Monday night indicating that this was so because it took a bit longer than normal for Customs in Canada to process the paper work for the rifles.
”We arrived at the check in counter 5 minutes after check in was closed off. We had to change flights only to find out that there were not enough seats for us to get on the flights on the Wednesday.
One had to go through Boston the other had to continue through Dubai with the rifles. All our plans about getting in early to get over the jet lag were being messed up.”
However, as true warriors, the Guyanese’ first line of business in Australia was the Pairs Match.
”Although we were a few points behind we knew that we stood an outside chance.
During the 900 yards shoot we were running a bit behind on time so I decided to pick up the pace and shoot quickly. The scorer we had, missed one of the fives and we mentioned it to him and continued shooting, thinking that we would have gotten it resolved at the end.
This did not materialise as the range officers collected the scorebook and took it to the Jury who made a decision that we will not get the 5 points. We protested but their opinion was that we had fired on another target. We knew that we had not. I know I used that as my motivation for the Individuals because I felt that we were robbed of 5 points and had it been other teams the outcome would have been different.”
Persaud stated that in the Individuals Braithwaite shot brilliantly and after his 35:7 followed by35:4 and 35:3 they had set the tone.
”My shoot was not bad I dropped one point at 300 and shot two other 35’s. The next day it was tricky but we were focused and did not disappoint as the scores demonstrated. The final day we got beaten along with most of the shooters with the wind. It was not easy especially at the 1000 yards.
It was a great learning experience we proved that we can hold our own against the best in the world. The CSF was planned as part of our CG 2018 preparations and when we mentioned it to Mr. Juman Yasin he was all for it and most of the funding for this Championship came from the GOA along with Secure Innovations and Concepts Inc.”.
Persaud also stated that competing at the same range that would be used next year puts them in a better position for CG 2018.
”All the top shooters in the world were there to test the ranges. That was one of the strongest fields of Fullbore shooting ever assembled. To have finished well into the top 10 with that level of competition was fantastic and I hope that the sacrifices that Fullbore shooters make for our country continues to benefit from assistance from Government and Corporate Guyana.
As captain of this team I know we are on the ascendancy and if the other shooters get more exposure to high level international competition as we have been getting, we will continue to dominate not just at the Caribbean level but also internationally.”
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