Flying high w/ Mitchell Brooker-Smith

Hard work leads to success for Mitchell Brooker-Smith as he both toils and triumphs at South Wales 2000.

It’s been a great month in terms of positive results, with the highlight being the amazing success I enjoyed at the Welsh Grand Prix at South Wales 2000.

On 22 June, my grandparents and I travelled up to East Yorkshire Clay Shooting Ground for a British Shooting training camp in preparation for the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany. We were fortunate enough to have Richard Brickell coaching us on the day.

Richard was the Commonwealth Champion in Delhi 2010, and represented Great Britain at the Athens 2004 and London 2012 Olympics, so it was safe to say that myself and the other Juniors were in good, knowledgeable hands!

The idea behind this training session was to choose a ground that replicated the ranges we would be competing on in Suhl, hence using East Yorkshire as the venue. We trained hard while the hot sun spilled across the Yorkshire countryside.

Having had the opportunity to put in some structured training, I felt more than ready to compete at my first Junior World Cup. Thank you very much to Richard and to British Shooting for this helpful opportunity, and to Lucy Hall and Rob Hall at East Yorkshire for setting up some fantastic targets to train on.

The weekend after training at East Yorkshire, South Wales 2000 were holding the Welsh Grand Prix alongside the WTSA (29-30 June). I was very fortunate, as the week before the Grand Prix I had my school work experience at South Wales 2000. This gave me the chance to get some extra training in!

But despite the privilege of having a range to train on within walking distance, I focused more on the work than training. In my four days working at South Wales I only trained twice, as although the Grand Prix was important to me, I really wanted to do my best and take advantage of the amazing opportunity of working in the shooting industry.

Nevertheless, Mike Amodeo was kind enough to allow me the Friday off work to train for the upcoming competition. 

The Welsh Grand Prix on 29-30 June was a fantastic weekend, which will definitely go down as one of my most memorable shooting experiences. Day one was glorious. The sun was shining, there wasn’t the slightest gust of wind, and there were no clouds to be seen for miles – perfect conditions to shoot in.

These conditions certainly worked to my advantage; on day one, I managed to shoot 99/100. My miss was a high 2 single on my first round that was a bit hard to take in, but despite this setback I was more than pleased with the end result, including the 75-straight I put in afterwards.

Day two was a very different story; the sun was being sheltered by the clouds and there were rapid winds shrieking across the mountain. I tried my best to fight through the tough conditions and started the day off with a 21/25 – a bit disappointing considering my scores on day one, but still a respectable start to a new day.

The Welsh Grand Prix saw Mitchell riding a wave of spectacular good form

The wind eventually calmed down as the day progressed, and I managed to end with a 93/100, giving me a total score of 192/200 for the weekend. We shot the final under old ISSF rules, which meant shooting an extra round on top of the qualifying score.

Going into the final, I had a 32-target lead on the shooter in bib two, so it was mathematically impossible for me to be beaten, but I still took part in the spirit of good sportsmanship.

As the Welsh Grand Prix came to end, I was able to take overall High Gun with a qualifying score of 192/200, as well another 25-straight in the final! (217/225 in total).

Thank you to Mike Amodeo, the WTSA and the team at South Wales 2000 for putting on a fantastic competition.

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