Range of emotions for shooters after highly successful Games
Pistol shooter Tara Leighton-Dyson says the future of the sport on island is in jeopardy as Ronez’s plans to quarry the Chouet headland would leave them without a place to train.
‘There is huge concern for us at the moment as there are very few places that would be available for us to relocate,’ said Leighton-Dyson, who won five gold medals at the 2023 Island Games.
The pistol team picked up 11 of Guernsey’s 16 shooting golds at the Games, but Leighton-Dyson said that they could ‘not publicise their achievements as much as they had hoped’ due to restrictions to the public at the Chouet range.
‘We really want to highlight how important it is for us to continue to have a place available for us to be able to train, especially since the shooting team won more golds than any other team at this year’s Games.
‘If we cannot train we can not compete, and Guernsey may not finish top of the medal table again if there is not a pistol shooting team.
‘We have already been relocated once, as we were evicted from the last range before a new one was put together in a matter of weeks before the last Games here in 2003, and if we were to be removed from this one, it would be extremely difficult to find somewhere that would not cause problems with noise.
‘It would also be too expensive for us to go off-island to train.’
Leighton-Dyson came out in top in the individual women’s 25m standard pistol and sports pistol events at this year’s Games, and combined with Nikki Trebert to claim team gold in the 10m air pistol, 25m standard and 25m sport.
Jack Hanca and Eric de Saumarez brought home the top prize for Guernsey in the men’s 25m centrefire team event, while the duo of Hanca and Paul Guillou got silver in the men’s 10m air pistol team.
Guillou and de Saumarez added another two silvers to the impressive medal tally in the individual 10m air pistol and the 25m centrefire respectively, and Nikki Trebert won bronze in 25m standard pistol.
The final of Guernsey’s medals in the pistol events was a bronze from Leighton-Dyson and Guillou in the open 50m free pistol team, which Leighton-Dyson described as a ‘personal highlight’ as the event had previously only been available to male competitors.
‘I am so pleased and proud to have represented our island at a home Games – the support of the public, the hundreds of volunteers and those behind the scenes has been amazing,’ she added.
‘I do not feel that I performed at my absolute best, but the hours of training and the thousands of rounds I have shot down at the range over the course of the year has definitely paid off.’