Mitchell Brooker-Smith is home on the range

With one exam behind him, clay shooter Mitchell is preparing for some big competitions.

For me, January was a month of sacrifice but also success. It would be hard to ask for a better start to 2020, what with my average gradually increasing in training, as well as getting my GCSE English Language results back.

Towards the end of last year I wrote about my thoughts and emotions on taking my first real GCSE exam. It was a surprisingly different experience from what I thought it would be.

I knew how it worked, but experiencing it for myself was very different to walking by and seeing all the older students taking their exams.

It’s been an anxious few months waiting for the result, knowing that my best might not have been quite enough. However, on 16 January, the little brown envelopes marked “highly confidential” arrived with the students – and I was delighted to see that I had passed my English Language with the required C grade! With that one crossed off my list, I am taking English Literature, which I hope will help me with my career choices in the future. 

Meanwhile, with the exam out of the way I was able to head back to the range. Ever since I got back from the European Championships I have been very busy with little time for training, so when a work-free day appears it’s great to leave everything behind and go back to my happy place.

My scores in training are slowly rising back to where I want them. I’m currently averaging around 23 in training – and with plenty of time to prepare before the first domestic competition of the season, I like to think the best is yet to come! It’s been good to catch up with some fellow shooters and hear what they’ve done away from shooting during their time in hibernation. 

Sadly, I have had to miss the Malaga Grand Prix and the Cyprus Grand Prix this year. It’s disappointing to miss out on the opportunity to compete on different ranges and visit new countries such as Cyprus, but a part of me feels that I’m making the right decision as I do have to put my exams first. This is an important year for me academically, and I will have to wait until my schedule becomes less demanding.

Mitchell looks forward to every opportunity to visit his “happy place”

As I head into this season I’ve still got a fantastic support team behind me. My family continue to show me much support, taking me training as much as possible and supporting me with the decisions I’ve had to make off the range.

Des Davies and the Welsh team are also showing the same encouragement that they have never ceased to provide. It’s really nice having support like this behind me. Having great people to share my successes with is what makes it worthwhile. 

Before long it will be my first domestic competition of the season. I look forward to updating you on how my training is coming along as we head further into 2020. 

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