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  • michaelwhapples1Michael Whapples from Leicestershire is blind and shoots air rifle.  In 2011 he was the first British shooter ever to compete at the Open European Shooting Championships for the Vision Impaired, held at Nitra, Slovakia. 

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  • MattSkelhon1Matt Skelhon shot to fame when he grabbed gold at the Bejiing Paralympic Games and proved it was no fluke by claiming silver and bronze at London 2012.

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  • vicmorris1Vic Morris lives in south Wales and is paralysed from the neck down as the result of an accident.  With the aid of an 'equaliser' device invented by his coach, John Kelman, Vic shoots pistol and rifle. 
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  • stewartnangle1Stewart Nangle, a Lancastrian, is pictured shooting .22 pistol.  What the photograph does not show is that at the time one of his legs was fitted with a metal frame that was bolted into the bones. 
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  • peterbreheny1Peter Breheny from Derbyshire shoots benchrest rifle.  He has Kennedy's Disease, a progressive wasting condition that has weakened his limbs. 
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  • Di CoatesDeanna (Di) Coates lives in Hampshire, shoots air rifle from a wheelchair, and is one of our most successful disabled international athletes. 
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  • scoutwithprosthesis1This young Scout was born without a left hand.  When he took an interest in shooting, which is very popular in the Scout movement, Hampshire Scouts helped his local club to find a solution. 
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Friday 19th April 2012

crazy - road x

Up with the dawn chorus and an early departure for Stoke Mandeville, to visit this year’s Inter Spinal Unit Games (ISUG). 

Steve Snelling, my contact at Wheelpower who organise the event, filled me in on the set up.  All of the 13 spinal injury units in Britain normally take part, sending teams of people who are newly-disabled and at or near the end of their rehabilitation, so nobody comes more than once.  Almost all of the participants are in wheelchairs; just a few are ambulatory. 

Airgun shooting is one of a wide variety of sports on offer, alongside archery, bowls, snooker, swimming, table tennis and weightlifting.  Everyone takes part in several different sports, and their results count towards an overall competition between the spinal units, which is fiercely contested!  Winning is a matter of great pride for the successful unit. 

The other important function of the event, of course, is to encourage people who have more or less sorted out the physical, domestic and financial consequences of their disablement to start looking outwards and find a sport they can get fully involved in.  Naturally it’s a useful scouting ground for DTSGB, who host the shooting events; they've recruited people like Ryan Cockbill from these games. 

One thing I found rather poignant about this morning was the shiny newness of all the wheelchairs.  I hadn’t realised how accustomed I’ve become to seeing shooters in chairs that are clearly “lived in” or even a tad battered, and have somehow become rather melded with each user’s persona. 

Talking of wheelchairs, I see the ISSF has just launched a new ‘Run and Shoot’ discipline which they are (as usual) trying out on the juniors first.  This seems to be a sort of cut-down biathlon on feet.  Wicked thought – will the IPC follow the lead with ‘Wheels and Shoot’?!

On the stretch from Aylesbury back to the M40 a stoat scooted across the road in front of me, and I counted seven red kites on the wing – I bet they don’t have much of a dawn chorus. 

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Read about how we are hoping to expand the range of international competitions open to disabled shooters, and let us know if you can help.  

Helpful Stuff

Vision for Shooters

For most shooters, being able to see well enough to aim accurately is the key to our sport. Our Vision Section has lots of information to help all shooters who have vision problems, great or small.

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Need information on funding for any aspect of disabled target shooting?  Check out the extensive Funding section on this site. 

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EFDS Inclusion Hub is a free on-line resource created by the English Federation of Disability Sport for clubs that wish to become more disabled-friendly and include more disabled people in their activities.
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Disability Awareness

For those encountering people who have various types of disabilities, we offer a round-up of some on-line advice and videos that may help to put everyone at their ease.