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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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Sunday 15th April 2012

Spent today coaching the Dwarf Sport Association people at Aldersley with Barry Dagger (Olympic medallist 1984).  They started getting involved in target shooting about four years ago, and only did it very occasionally.  Then DSAuk found out that it will be included in the World Dwarf Games for the first time in 2013 – and decided that they’d better start taking it a bit more seriously so that they can bring home some medals!  It was only by accident that I found out about their shooting, and went to see them in November with an offer of help, which they accepted. 

Now we’re helping them to sort out what they need to accomplish before August next year, when they head off to the World Games in America.  The principal task is to furnish them with equipment that they can use.  Dwarfs tend to have arms that are rather short for their stature, as well as small hands.  Consequently, they can’t adopt a conventional shooting position and it’s difficult for them to support the weight of a gun; also they can’t hold on to the pistol-grip and reach the trigger.  Fortunately, an air pistol has been found with a grip small enough for them, so that looks like one solution.  We still have to find a way to telescope down the whole of the butt section of a rifle for them.  This has been a major topic of discussion at today’s session, as a result of which we have a plan! 

We need a get-together of people who can do engineering to devise a workable modification to a suitable model of rifle, then get the modification works costed.  DSAuk will then apply for a grant to cover the cost of buying the rifles, pistols and other equipment they need, plus the cost of doing the modifications.  When the grant comes through the gear will be bought and the work done.  All this is going to take at least six months of the time that is available for them to learn this sport well enough for a world event!  In the meantime, we’re hoping to be able to scrounge some rifles that have been written off due to damaged stocks – we’ll be able to hack bits off them and stick new bits on as part of the experimentation process, without it costing very much. 

In between all this head-scratching over equipment, today was spent introducing them properly to the key points of shooting technique, like keeping still, treating the trigger gently, and following through.  The improvement in scores during the day, as everyone worked hard at absorbing and applying all this new knowledge, was impressive – I hope that they were all as encouraged as I was.  It will be very interesting to see what a difference this makes at the National Dwarf Games next month. 

It's a real joy working with these guys; the problems mentioned above, which would drive the average shooter up the wall, didn't give rise to a single grumble.  Instead there was lots of good humour, and a totally positive attitude; very therapeutic for me after a long week at this keyboard!  I'm most grateful to everyone for a super day, and I hope they do really well at the Nationals.   

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