Going for gold: Claysports TV’s guide to shooting at Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo Olympic Games are here – and Great Britain is sending a small but elite squad of shooters to fight for medals. Here’s our guide to who’s competing in what event and when, and how you can follow their progress towards Olympic glory.

Other than Amber Hill (who pulled out before her events due to a positive covid test), all Team GB’s shooters at Tokyo 2020 are first-time Olympians. All are quota place winners in their own right. British Shooting performance director Steven Seligmann adds “they have demonstrated fantastic performances on a world stage to merit their selection.”

Here’s our guide to the shooters who’re representing Team GB at Tokyo 2020. Scroll down for details of the schedule of shooting events, how to watch them live, and more.

The Famous Five

Matt Coward-Holley

Insta: @mattcowardholley
From: Chelmsford
Age: 26
Discipline: Olympic Trap
World Ranking: 3
Gun/ammo: Perazzi MX2000 / Clever T4

Matt is the reigning world and European champion and heads to Japan as a favourite for a medal in men’s Olympic trap. He has been shooting at the top of his game recently, and is widely tipped for a podium place.

When a back injury put an end to a promising rugby career, Matt started shooting DTL and progressed to Double Trap, where he won a team gold at the 2015 World Championships in Lonato. When DT was dropped from the Olympics, he switched to Olympic Trap, winning the World Championship in 2019.

In action in Tokyo: 28-29 July.

Seonaid McIntosh

Insta: @minimac_400
From: Edinburgh
Age: 25
Disciplines: 10m Air Rifle, 50m Rifle 3 Positions
World ranking: 1
Gun/ammo: Grunig & Elmiger R3 / Eley Tenex; Pardini GPR1 / RWS R10

Seonaid (pronounced Shona), also known fondly as ‘Mini-Mac’, comes from an out-and-out shooting background – her parents are both world-class shots and her sister is a double shooting Olympian who has recently published her first fantasy novel, Blood of Ravens.

Seonaid burst onto the international scene in 2017, winning gold in the European Championships for 50m Rifle 3 Positions individual event as well as team gold. Shortly afterwards she took gold and silver in the Commonwealth Championships, in 50m Rifle 3 Positions and 50m Rifle Prone. The following year she became Women’s 50m Prone World Champion in Korea, and the list of achievements goes on, with World Cup and European Championship wins galore in 2018 and 2019.

In action in Tokyo: 24 & 31 July.

 

Kirsty Hegarty

Insta: @kb.barr88
From: Craigavon
Age: 32
Discipline: Olympic Trap
World ranking: 25
Gun/ammo: Caesar Guerini Invictus V / Clever

Kirsty is the daughter of shooters Clifford and Sandra Barr, and has achieved a raft of medals in international competition, including silver at the World Cup in Al Ain 2019, and silvers at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2018. She has had success in mixed trap competitions as well, partnering with fellow Olympian Matthew Coward-Holley – the pair won World Cup gold in May this year at Lonato, Italy.

Kirsty studied aerospace engineering at Queen’s University Belfast, and when she’s not shooting works at business aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace.

In action in Tokyo: 28-29 July.

Amber Hill

Insta: @amberjohill
From: Bracknell
Age: 23
Discipline: Olympic Skeet
World ranking: 1
Gun/ammo: Beretta DT11 / Eley

What a tragedy for Amber. She has a fantastic list of achievements for such a young shooter. She became the youngest-ever Skeet World Cup gold medallist at the age of 15, winning the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award in 2013.

However, she has had to pull out of the Olympics due to a positive covid test.

She claimed a quota place for Team GB at Rio 2016, and came a respectable 6th in the Women’s Skeet event there, despite being one of GB’s youngest-ever shooting Olympians.

After a break from shooting during the pandemic of 2020, Amber burst back onto the scene in 2021, winning her Olympic quota place at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi in March with a world record score that saw her take the gold medal.

Amber tested positive for covid before flying to Tokyo, but would have gone to the Tokyo Games as the current World Champion, and was a strong favourite to win a medal for GB in the Women’s Skeet event.

She should have been in action in Tokyo: 25-26 July.

Aaron Heading

Insta: @gbraaronheading
From: Lincolnshire
Age: 34
Discipline: Olympic Trap
World ranking: 41
Gun/ammo: Beretta DT11 / Fiocchi Official

Aaron became one of Team GB’s youngest-ever members at the age of 12. He won gold at his first Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010, and went on to win Commonwealth silver at Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.

Watch our interview with Aaron Heading about his rollercoaster journey to the Olympics (above) and gold medallist Peter Wilson on Aaron’s prospects (below)

Aaron was expected to shoot for GB at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but a motorcycle accident put paid to that. Tokyo 2020 will be his first Olympic Games. No one will be cheering for him more than wife Natasha and son Hennessey.

In action in Tokyo: 28-29 July.

What’s on when

All the Tokyo 2020 shooting events will be held at the Asaka Shooting Range. The range was used for the Tokyo 1964 Games, and a temporary facility has been built at the site for 2020.

Shooting traditionally produces the first medal of any Olympic Games, and Tokyo 2020 will be no exception. The 10m Air Rifle Women’s final will be decided at 10.45 local time on Saturday 24 July – and that’s GB’s first opportunity for a shooting medal, with Seonaid McIntosh a strong contender in that event.

10m Air Rifle Women (Seonaid McIntosh)

Sat 24 July, 8.30am, Qualification

Sat 24 July, 10.45am, Final

Trap Women (Kirsty Hegarty)

Wed 28 July, 9am, Qualification day 1

Thu 29 July, 9am, Qualification day 2

Thu 29 July, 2.30pm, Final

Trap Men (Aaron Heading, Matthew Coward-Holley)

Wed 28 July, 9.25am, Qualification day 1

Thu 29 July, 9.50am, Qualification day 2

Thu 29 July, 3.30pm, Final

50m Rifle 3 Positions Women (Seonaid McIntosh)

Sat 31 July, 12 noon, Qualification

Sat 31 July, 4pm, Final

See the full schedule of shooting events at the official Olympics website.

 

What’s the time in Tokyo?

Tokyo is 8 hours ahead of us in Britain (taking into account we’re currently on British Summer Time). The Olympic schedule is published in local (Tokyo) time. To find out what that means to us, subtract 8 hours.

For instance, The Skeet Women’s Final is at 14:50 on Monday 26 July. Subtract 8 hours and that means it’s at 06:50 our time – ie at 10 to 7 in the morning.

There’s a handy time zone converter at 24timezones.com

 

How to watch

BBC One and Two will be broadcasting more than 350 hours of television coverage during the Tokyo Olympics, and promise to cover all 33 sports (shooting included). There will be a second live stream available on BBC iPlayer. BBC Radio 5 Live will also have Olympic programmes from 1am-9am and 11am-2pm each day. The BBC Sport website will have continually updated coverage including video highlights and breaking news. BBC.co.uk/sport/olympics

More on shooting from BBC Sport: BBC.co.uk/sport/shooting

Eurosport is also providing comprehensive coverage of the Olympics, including the shooting events: Eurosport.com/shooting/olympic-games

More Olympic coverage from Claysports TV and Fieldsports Channel
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