Didcot marksman Dan Rivers has a place in England’s team for this summer’s Commonwealth Games firmly in his sights after regaining his British air rifle title.
The 22-year-old was crowned champion at Bisley in 2012 when competing as a senior for the first time, before finishing third to Italy’s Olympic champion, Niccolo Campriani, 12 months ago.
And he won the 10m air rifle free standing title for a second time by recording an impressive 203.6 points to pip Jack Bale by a single point in a nail-biting finish.
The Wantage Target Shooting Club member said: “They were fine margins and obviously there was great pressure because the crowd is behind you and the scores are projected up, and you see where people are and who is chasing you from behind.
“After the first two series of the final I was in the lead and I led all the way up to the penultimate shoot where I was tied for first with Jack Bale.
“I clinched it by one point on the final shot.
“It was close and the heart was pounding, but I managed to steer it into the middle.
“It was just sheer relief because this year I want to get qualifying scores and results to make the England team which is going to the Commonwealth Games, which is a massive goal for me and has been for the last couple of years.
“I feel with the recent results this has put me right on target for it.”
Rivers stands second in the rankings behind Ken Parr, who finished third at Bisley, and now he is focused on accumulating enough points to make England’s two-man team to shoot in Glasgow in July.
He is aiming to compete in not just air rifle, but also two small bore events – prone and three position.
With that in mind, he is set to represent England in an international competition in Dortmund, Germany, starting on Tuesday, March 18.
“It would be a massive feat to go to a large multisport event like the Commonwealth Games and it would help my preparation looking forward to Rio in 2016 which is the long-term goal,” he added.
Rivers is being backed in his quest by Ridgeway Oxford Audi, where he works as a mechanic, with his employers providing him with an A4 to travel to Bisley at the weekend.