Sport

Echuca man shoots to the top

by
December 06, 2017

Mark Rogers during the 2017 Australian Open Handicap. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Brian Doyle during the 2017 Australian Open Handicap. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Rob Viney during the 2017 Australian Open Handicap. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Arty Del-Ben during the 2017 Australian Open Handicap. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Glen Castellaro during the 2017 Australian Open Handicap. Photo by Luke Hemer.

WEATHER can not always deter a competitor.

And for Echuca Gun Club member Steve Haberman, it didn’t prevent him earning national selection in his sport.

A dominant performance in the Australian Trap Shooting Open saw Haberman take out the singles championship, earning a spot on Australia’s national side for next year’s shooting world championship.

The fourth annual open was held in Echuca for the third straight year, with the event attracting the very best.

‘‘Chances are anyone you bump into here is a state or national champion, even a couple of world champions,’’ Echuca club president Stephen Atkins said.

‘‘So the guys you see around here really are the very best the sport has to offer.’’

Atkins said it was an honour to host the event.

‘‘It’s always great to get to have events of this calibre at our club,’’ Atkins said.

‘‘Getting to have the best shots in the country come and compete, it’s great for the club to be able to put these events on consistently.’’

Despite the weather, two major events were run, with singles and doubles shot, shooting 100 targets.

After the event was completed, the top 10 shooters from each section advanced to the finals, shooting a ten target set, followed by a single miss elimination to decide the best shooter in each section.

Saturday also saw the handicap event take place, with shooters taking part from different distances depending on ability.

Phil Grainger was the best performer of the event, walking out as the events overall champion, earning his own spot on the team.

The Australian team will feature Grainger, who will captain the side, Haberman, Darren Nicholls, Pat Guida and Andrew Smith.

Haberman defeated Neil McWhirter in the singles event.

Nicholls took out the honours in the doubles event, just edging out runner up Guida.

Mark McInnes of the Australian Trapshooters Association said that events like the open were responsible for the renaissance of trap shooting.

‘‘We have brought trap shooting back from the dead basically,’’ McInnes said.

‘‘Trap shooting was a major event for years, all the way up until the 1960’s, at which point it disappeared. So we have worked hard to bring it back as a competitive sport.

‘‘To see the quality of shooters who have come out to take part, in spite of the weather, is fantastic and makes us excited for the future of trap shooting.’’

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