Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Hot shot is targeting the top with Team GB call-up

Hot shot is targeting the top with Team GB call-up

A RIFLE shooter from Wargrave has been selected for Team GB.

Charlie Dart, 20, will compete in the under-21s section of the long range world championships in New Zealand later this month.

He hopes that if he does well and continues to improve he could eventually make the senior squad.

Charlie, who lives in High Street with his parents Peter, a marketing director, and Annette, a housewife, and sisters Rosie, 21, and Katie, 18, has been shooting since he was 13.

He got into the sport as a student at the Oratory School in Woodcote, where he joined the shooting team.

In his final year he was selected to represent England in a schools match against the other home nations and the Channel Islands.

He specialises in full bore target rifle, which involves shooting at a target from a long range.

Charlie said: “I’m not so much into the whole world of rifles and ammo, it’s more about the technical aspect. We have to do all sorts of calculations about where our shot will land on the target. When you are shooting outdoors you’ve got to calculate the wind at the time you take your shot.”

Charlie, who owns his own .308 calibre rifle, for which he has a firearms licence, continued to compete after leaving school in 2017.

He has represented Windsor Rifle Club, Berkshire and the Old Oratorians, who were founded by GB shooter Chris Mitchell, from Cockpole Green, who was at the Oratory a decade before him.

At last year’s Berkshire Open he won the long-range competition and also did well in the the short-range contest. He said: “It’s a week-long competition and the highlight was coming 18th out of more than 1,000 people in the short-range aggregate. I was happy with how I performed.”

In full bore target rifle, competitors take single shots at a target from a prone position. The distance to the target varies from 300 to 1,000 yards.

In team competitions coaches can make decisions about allowing for the wind conditions and adjusting sights but in the individual competition it’s down to the shooter alone.

After his performances last year, Charlie was contacted by GB team manager Gary Alexander.

He said: “I shot for the Irish national team over the summer and Gary is their captain so I knew him.

“He called me and told me I was in the under-21s squad of 10 for New Zealand so that I knew to reserve the dates.

“If I wasn’t picked I knew I would be a reserve and there was still the possibility I could be travelling.

“Gary phoned me a couple of weeks later and told me I was in the final seven. It was very exciting and my parents were very proud.”

The championships in Wellington will run from January 25 to February 10 and will involve team and individual competitions over a variety of shooting distances.

Charlie said: “There will be a team match between us, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA and the individual championships as well as a lot of practice events in between.

“The shooting happens at 300, 600, 900 and 1,000 yards and the team match will be shooting at each one of those distances.”

Team GB will also have teams at under-25, senior and veteran levels and an overall squad of more than 50 people.

The team will fly to Auckland on Saturday, January 19 and will spend almost four weeks in New Zealand, so they can also enjoy the sights.

Charlie said: “The shooting will be sandwiched in between rest and relaxation. We are going to do walking tours, looking at volcanic sites and wine tasting.”

When he returns, he plans to continue shooting.

Charlie said: “With shooting you don’t deteriorate with age, you improve, become more experienced and have better control over your rifle.

“I realise this could be something I could stay in for life.”

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