Sharpshooter Dowling is champion of champions

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Chichester Rifle Club’s Robert Dowling was in action again a day after his fine shoot in the final of the British Championship at Bisley.

As winner of the Sussex County Championship in June, the 19-year-old became the county’s representative at the champion of champions shoot where winners from all British counties shoot.

It follows the format of the Olympic prone rifle match where all competitors fire 60 shots at 50 metres on electronic targets. The top eight competitors then compete in an Olympic-style final, each firing an additional ten shots, one shot at a time, with all scores announced to the watching crowd and competitors after each shot, providing a nerve-racking shoot for the competitors.

In the final, shots are scored to one decimal place so a dead centre bull scores 10.9, a scrappy bull 10.0, a shot which is very close to the bull 9.9 and so on.

After the 60-shot match, Dowling scored 593 out of 600, giving him a one-point lead over his nearest challenger. A further three rifleman were on 591.

Dowling’s first five shots in the Olympic final scored 10.2, 9.8, 10.6, 10.3 & 9.8, giving him 643.7. Second-placed Wendy Foith from Aberdeen had closed the gap to just 0.7 with a score of 643, while Dowling’s next three nearest rivals all had good opening sequences, closing the gap so that with just five shots remaining only 1.2 points separated him from fifth-placed Ken Bowley.

Dowling showed real nerve with a run of four central bulls scoring 10.4, 10.6, 10.7 and 10.4 and when he scored 9.9 with his final shot he could not be caught, running out champion of champions by 1.3 points.

If you think you have what it takes to make a champion or if you’d like to challenge yourself by trying something different, pop along to the range in Wellington Road, Chichester, on a Wednesday from 7.30pm to find out more.