One of the few sports where age is no barrier, the competitors making up the Isle of Man shooting team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games range from a young university student to a seasoned shooter with seven previous Games already under his belt. Demonstrating the breadth of talent in the sport, the Island’s Glasgow 2014 squad includes 11 shooters out of a total of 46 competitors. They are:
- Tim Kneale – Tim, 31, will be hoping to replicate his medal winning performance in the Double Trap from the Delhi 2010 Games and return with another bronze or better from Glasgow 2014. Currently ranking third in Great Britain and a regular member of the GB shooting team.
- Jake Keeling – A fellow Double Trap competitor, Glasgow 2014 will be the third Commonwealth Games outing for 43-year-old Jake. The former New Zealand Champion, he is a multiple gold medallist at the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Games and also won silver in the Island Games 2011.
- Neil Parsons – Neil, 45, is a veteran of the past three Commonwealth Games and Island Games champion. He narrowly missed out on a place in the final at Delhi 2010 and will be looking to get to the last six at Glasgow 2014 in the Olympic trap event.
- David Walton – Another highly experienced shooter, 46-year-old David already has a bronze team medal from the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games to his name as well as Island Games golds. He competes alongside Neil in the Olympic Trap.
- David Clague – David, 62, took a team gold and individual silver at the Island Games 2011 and is hoping to duplicate this success in the Olympic Skeet event.
- James Bradley – This is 43-year-old James’ first Commonwealth Games and he is also looking for a good performance in the Olympic Skeet.
- Rachel Glover – Rachel, 33, is ranked No. 1 in Great Britain. She bagged four golds and two records at the Island Games in 2011. She will be competing in the 50m prone, 50m 3P and Air Rifle events at Glasgow 2014.
- Lara Ward – Lara won the September 2013 Commonwealth (European Division) Shooting Championships and is a multiple Island Games medallist. This will be her fourth Commonwealth Games and she is shooting in the 50m prone.
- Ben Kelly – The youngest shooter in the team is 20-year-old Ben who participates in the 50m men’s prone. Currently studying at Edinburgh Napier University, Ben took a silver in the 2013 Commonwealth (European Division) Shooting Championship and won bronze and silver at the Island Games 2011. This is Ben’s first Commonwealth Games although he represented the Isle of Man at Rugby 7s in the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011.
- Harry Creevy – Joining Ben in the 50m prone is the highly experienced 58-year-old Harry. A former World Champion at the 300m distance, selection for Glasgow 2014 sees him competing in his eighth Commonwealth Games, a record for an Isle of Man competitor.
- Gemma Kermode – Gemma, 29, made her debut in the last Commonwealth Games at Delhi 2010 in the Ladies 10m Air Rifle event. She will compete in this again for Glasgow 2014 as well as the 50m 3P discipline.
Supporting the shooters behind the scenes are two highly experienced team managers. Former Island Games gold medallist and Delhi team manager Phil Ward is taking care of the clay shooters and is also Head of Performance across all disciplines. Meanwhile Phil Glover, who competed for the Isle of Man in the Manchester and Melbourne Commonwealth Games, is looking after the air rifle hopefuls. They are ably assisted by clays coach Kevin Gill, a multiple world champion from GB shooting and Ian Shirra-Gibb, a National Rifle Association coach who has been capped 28 times for Scotland.
The team’s targets for Glasgow are to get at least four competitors into the finals and to bring back at least one more medal for the Isle of Man. Phil Ward comments: “The Australians are always at the top of their game and there will be strong competition from the English and Scots who are playing on home turf in home conditions. But we’re very hopeful of delivering a strong performance – our shooters have a great deal of experience and enthusiasm across the team and we’re all focussing on doing our best for the Games in July.”
The Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association is the organisation responsible for the publicity, fundraising, travel, and support for Team Isle of Man’s participation at the Commonwealth Games. It is a registered charity (No.644) and relies upon fundraising events and donations to fund the team. Find out about fundraising initiatives planned in the countdown to Glasgow 2014 at www.cga.im where you can also make donations.