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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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South Lakes shooter Shaw targets Rio Olympics

MARK Shaw admits he was disappointed to be overlooked for the London 2012 shooting team – but is redoubling his efforts to qualify for the next Games after being inspired by carrying the Olympic torch.

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NUMBER ONE JUNIOR: Mark Shaw of High Newton Submitted

Olympic Trap shooter Shaw, 21, became the first junior from Cumbria to represent Great Britain in the World Universal Trench Championships three years ago, winning team bronze.

Shaw, of High Newton, has gradually been making his mark ever since and claimed a junior Olympic Trap bronze at the World Championships in Belgrade last September.

But the elusive berth on the shooting team went to Somerset’s Ed Ling not Shaw, with Ling a veteran of the Athens Games in 2004.

“Unfortunately I won’t have the chance to go to the Games in London but I sort of knew I was not going to be selected anyway,” said Shaw, who is still ranked as Britain’s number one junior. I wanted to go, obviously, but when it was confirmed, it was not really disappointing because I don’t feel ready myself yet.

“People who have got the chance to go to London 2012 have a lot more experience behind them. It is their time to go, not mine, so it is not that frustrating for me.

“I am practising hard now for the next Olympics (in Rio 2016). I have been told that I have the potential to make the senior team.

“That news has spurred me on to train harder and put in the extra hours. In another four years’ time I will be more experienced.

“But it is too early to tell if I am an Olympic medal prospect yet. I will have to see how I get on at senior level first and see how much I can improve.”

Shaw believes he can improve, but only after reconstructing his approach to training and competition after an erratic start to the year.

“My progress this year has been steady but also up and down,” said the marksman, who benefits from being a member of the Lloyds TSB’s Local Heroes programme.

“The last couple of months have been better, whereas before I think I was trying too hard to make the senior team. I was thinking about it too much. I was getting too intense in competitions.

“But I am far more relaxed now and I hope to be more consistent in the future. The motto I stick to is ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’. I think I am looking good for the future and will definitely become more confident.

“I am eagerly anticipating challenging myself at the next level next year.

“I want to make World Cup and European Cup squads, which will put me in a better position for making the Rio 2016 squad.”

Although Shaw was overlooked for the Summer Games, he did get a taste of London 2012 on Thursday when carrying the Olympic Torch through Grasmere.

“It was brilliant carrying the torch. It was such a good feeling and it more than lived up to the expectations I had,” he added.

“It was all a bit of a blur at the time but I really enjoyed it. There were more people there than I thought there would be.

“I am really proud of myself and feel part of history. I can’t thank Lloyds TSB enough for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

l As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB is bringing the excitement of the Games and Olympic Flame closer to you. Find out what we’re doing in your community and who is carrying the Flame at lloydstsb.com/olympictorchrelay

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