National junior title for first time competitor of event

FULL CONCENTRATION: Tom McGregor in competition
FULL CONCENTRATION: Tom McGregor in competition

Tom McGregor has become the 2018 Compak Sporting Junior UK Champion, on his first try in the national competition.

The 18-year-old from Denham End, near Barrow, has just taken up the specific form of clay pigeon shooting and was taking part in only his second-ever competition in the discipline.

He said he was ‘quite happy’ with the result, which saw him claim victory by two clays over his closest opponent in the junior category, which is for those aged under 21.

He explained that the competition took place over four rounds, with 25 targets to hit in each, hitting 100 in total.

McGregor recorded a 94 per cent return to take the top spot, while his closest rival hit 92 targets.

But the big thing to take away from the competition, for Tom, was how close he came to beating the senior shooters, with the overall competition won by a total of 95.

He said: “It’s a massive confidence booster to know how close I already am, and I still have three years left of my age group.

“So I’m already competitive, against such good athletes, with three more years of development to go, that’s a big thing.

“It’s great to win at only my second-ever Compak Sporting event, my aim is to make it to Team GB and, if I can keep improving like this, then I hope it will come.

“I’m definitely on the right track, it’s an amazing win but it’s about the next event now.”

He said he would be competing at the Essex Masters next week, a prestigious event on the Compak Sporting calendar, in a tournament which would attract competitors from all over the world.

“It’s pretty local for me, about 45 minutes or so away and it’s a bit like a ‘home’ event,” McGregor said.

“I have learned that it can be quite exhausting travelling to an event, so I will make sure I get there with plenty of time to relax and get focused.

“I always tell people shooting is 60 per cent skill and 40 per cent concentration.

“If you aren’t focused, it can be the difference between first and last place. And that’s why you can see some inconsistent results, one day you can be brilliant and terrible the next — the best are brilliant all the time.

“But it’s not all focus, you do have to have the aptitude too of course.”

McGregor may be new to Compak Sporting, but he is not new to clay pigeon shooting, having first been introduced to the sport at about 12 years old by his father.

He said it was not that unusual an activity in the rural setting of his upbringing but not many did it competitively.

He said he had been on an Olympic programme in another shooting discipline but had decided to switch to Compak Sporting, a decision he felt was ‘right’ for him as he develops.

Compak Sporting is similar to sporting clays but takes place in a smaller area.

Tom McGregor added: “I am indebted to David Sheldrake, Landmark Scaffolding and other sponsors, who without their generous support I wouldn’t be where I am today.”