Shooter underdone for national titles

JOHN Sleightholme enters next week’s National Clay Target Shooting Championships fresh.

It’s not how he would have liked to have headed to Wagga Wagga for the five-day championship beginning Monday but, unfortunately for him, he contracted a bout of influenza flying home from the recent New Zealand Clay Target national titles.

“I haven’t been able to do any training the last couple of weeks,” Sleightholme said.

“I had a bad bout of flu. 

“I’ve been to the doctor and been taking antibiotics the last week or so.

“I’m not too bad now – should be right by Monday.”

Sleightholme drives down to Wagga Wagga today in a confident mood despite the illness.

That stems from a good trip to NZ where he was runner-up in their national pointscore to a young Victorian.

“We battled it out before I missed one,” he said.

“But the important part of that was that it got me into the NSW Hall Of Fame. 

“It’s something I’ve been working towards for the last eight to 10 years.”

Sleightholme, who celebrated his 54th birthday on Thursday, has been shooting about 25 years but became “serious” about a decade ago.

The NSW Hall Of Fame is worked out on a points basis, shooters earning so many points for winning major titles.

A two-time Australian champion as well as a previous NZ national championship winner, Sleightholme’s 10 points from his recent New Zealand  runner-up finish garnered him 10 points.

“And gave me enough points to go into the Hall Of Fame,” he said.

“It’s a nice recognition, something I’ve been really aiming for the last two years after starting eight to 10 years ago.”

Unfortunately for Sleightholme,  he will be the only Tamworth shooter competing in Wagga Wagga.

“However George Barton (former Tamworth Olympian) is shooting,” he said.

“He’s a talented marksman.”

Barton now resides in southern Queensland.

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