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Shooting preview - 28 July


Seven gold medals will be decided at the National Shooting Centre at Bisley on Sunday during the busiest day for the shooting competitions.

Australia's shooter Michael Diamond

Australia's Michael Diamond is vying for gold.

On the clay ranges, the Olympic double trap pairs events take place for men and women. Similar to individual trap, two clay targets are launched simultaneously from a trench 15 metres in front of the shooter, and competitors have one shot at each.

In the menís competition, the stage is set for a classic Ashes confrontation. Australiaís jewel in the crown, Michael Diamond, teams up with Mark Russell for a high-level clash with Englandís Olympic double trap gold medallist Richard Faulds and John Bellamy, the 1998 team captain.

Although the trap isnít Diamondís favoured event Ė he is the dominant figure in it, at which he won the pairsí gold medal on Saturday with Adam Vella. Diamond will be hoping to improve on his Commonwealth Games silver at Kuala Lumpur, though Fauldsí new British record here a fortnight ago shows he is in good form.

Englandís 15-year-old Charlotte Kerwood makes her team debut as the youngest shooter in the Commonwealth Games, unites with former British studentsí champion Helen Slack to challenge for the hosts.

The combined 48 yearsí experience of Canadian duo Cynthia Meyer and Susan Nattras will be tough to overcome, as will the combination of Suzanne Balogh and Suzie Trindall of Australia. Balogh took gold in the Korean World Cup last year and also won the gold for trap and double trap events at the Commonwealth Federation preliminary held at Bisley last year.

Frank Wyatt and the newly-crowned 10m air pistol pairs champion Michael Gault of England defend their 50m free pistol pairs title. In this discipline, competitors fire at one target Ė a traditional bulls-eye with surrounding rings using a .22 calibre pistol. Values range from ten for a hit in the 5cm bull to one for the outer ring Ė and a total 60 shots make for a maximum 600 points.

Pistol shooter Gault is the most successful English shooter in Commonwealth Games history with a total of six gold medals Ė one from his visit to Victoria in 1994, four at Kuala Lumpur 1998 and one from the first dayís air pistol event at Bisley on Saturday.

His partner Wyatt is a veteran of the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. This duo will be up against Greg Yelavich of New Zealand, his countryís most successful marksman with ten medals since the Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games. He partners Alan Earle who took home silver from the rapid-fire pistol event in 1998.

In the ladiesí air rifle pairs, Englandís Louise Minett has been shooting to a consistently high standard and may well improve on her 1998 bronze, although her Kuala Lumpur team-mate Rebecca Spicer will be participating in the .22 three-position rifle rather than air gun, her place has been taken by Victoria Eaton. Canadaís Sharon Bowes competes alongside Jacklyn Mecredy who wasnít even born when Bowes shot in the Olympic Games at Los Angeles in 1984.

Their Air Pistol counterparts also shoot today, with Anne-Marie Forder of Australia bidding to retain her pairs title won in Kuala Lumpur, partnered by Russian-born Lalita Yauhleuskaya. Just 24 years of age, Forder took bronze at the Sydney Olympics in the individual event.

England duo Helen Preston and Kathryn Pearson have been shooting well in practice. Kuala Lumpur medallist Kimberley Eagles is representing Canada with 23-year-old Dorothy Hare who just missed out on a medal in 1998. Hare is coached by her father William, who competed in the Olympic Games for Canada three times.

The first shots on the Lord Roberts Centreís new 50m range start on Sunday, with the 50m menís rifle prone pairs event taking place in the newly built Centre. The partnership of New Zealandís world champion Stephen Petterson and Sean Mccabe looks strong, after first and third in the Badge matches this week.

Englandís Mike Babb will also be brimming over with confidence after booking his place at the Athens Olympic Games with a stunning performance in Milan last month. His partner Neil Day has also shot well this week, taking runner-up in the individual badge event.

Just a few hundred yards from the 50m indoor range is the impressive Stickledown range, on which the final stage of the open full bore rifle takes place at distances of 900 and 1,000 yards.

Northern Irelandís Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist David Calvert will be a strong prospect, although David Dodds of South Africa, a glamour photographer by profession, is yet to reveal his potential. He teams up with Peter Bramley, whose grandfather was a leading South African international rifle shot. Also hungry for success in this mixed event is Scottish pair Alice Ogilvie and Ian Shaw, the 1997 Scottish Full Bore champion.

Info News Service/ws/bn

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