Jersey shooter Gareth Callan has been chosen to captain the British team for the upcoming Long Range World Championships in South Africa.
Gareth (47), who is sponsored by his employer Standard Bank, has been shooting for Britain for over 20 years and is no stranger to international competition, but this is his first captaincy. He takes a team of five to Cape Town, and is optimistic about their medal chances: ‘The teams to beat are going to be the hosts South Africa and the Americans. We have two in our team making their international debut, but I am confident we have a really good chance. Although it is my first trip to South Africa, as it is the home of Standard Bank I am going to feel right at home there. It is the perfect venue for me to be captaining the British team.’
Gareth has just returned from the European Short Range championships where as part of the British team he picked up three gold medals. He also holds a further gold and two silver medals. Gareth has been shooting since childhood: ‘Shooting is about accuracy, it’s black and white, you have either scored it or you haven’t and it isn’t open to interpretation or judges. It is also a sport in which anyone can get involved and be good at. I was never going to play centre half for England, but I quickly realised that I could shoot, and shoot for Great Britain, and that gave me a reason to carry on.’
The Long range target shooting is shot over five distances, between three hundred yards and a thousand. It is shot with black powder in a muzzle loading gun.
Gareth has been with Standard Bank for five years as Records Manager. Standard Bank are giving him extra time off work to compete, and are also sponsoring some of his travel costs: ‘The support from Standard Bank has been vital, I can’t replicate match conditions here in Jersey and so I have needed the time to be able to go off and compete so that I can be match fit. It’s not just about money, it is about the time. Back home I have also been supported in my training by fellow shooter Mike Alexander and we have been lucky enough to be able to practice at the 600 metre Crabbé range.’
Claire Reid, Head of Marketing & Communications at Standard Bank said the Bank is delighted to be helping Gareth: ‘Gareth uses all of his leave to compete, he is dedicated and it is testament to his dedication and skill that he has now been chosen to Captain the Great Britain team. We wanted to help by giving him extra time to train and to be able to compete at the European and World Championships. All his colleagues wish him and the team the best of luck.’
Gareth leaves for Cape Town on Friday 6th September. The Championships take place over the following week.