Slatter's shooting is still just as sharp
SOME say women know best and for John Slatter, his wife’s support and advice has been invaluable.
Wife Suzanne encouraged Slatter to pick up his gun again, and this has won Slatter selection into the Welsh veteran men’s shooting squad and a berth in the World Championships next March in New Zealand.
Slatter has competed in the Down the Line discipline since the 1970s, but downed tools in the mid-80s.
On his wife’s advice and encouragement, the Guiting Power resident started shooting again in 2011, and found he was shooting the same scores as he had been almost 30 years earlier.
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Securing the chance to represent his country has fulfilled one of Slatter’s lifelong ambitions.
He said: “My wife told me I should to take it up again.
“She said, ‘you’ve always loved it, you must try again’. And I found I still had the skill to do it.
“I’m happy I’m going, it’s something I never ever dreamed I would achieve.
“Originally I was just happy to get to the home internationals but to get selected to go to the worlds is even more fantastic.
“It was always something I wanted to do but I never achieved it in those days. I found I was shooting these scores, and thought ‘let’s go for it, let’s see what happens’.
“My wife is very helpful, very supportive and very tolerant of all the time I spend shooting.”
What makes Slatter’s achievement all the more remarkable is that the shooter will be paying his way when he travels down under to the world competition next year.
There is a funding shortage in the Welsh association and they can only offer a £500 contribution to costs, so while Slatter is not bitter, he is looking for sponsorship.
He explained: “I don’t feel hard done by because this is something I have always wanted to do, but I know that the English shooters will have a lot more provided for them.
“The English association is much bigger with about 20,000 members. The Welsh association only has 2,000 members, so the funding simply isn’t there.
“I know they have restraints on them.”
Slatter just missed out on selection in 2012 by three places, but persevered this season and is now reaping the rewards.
He took part in eight selection shoots for the Welsh team. Each shooter’s best four scores are recorded and those with the best scores earn the chance to represent their country.
The shooter, who trains and competes every weekend, finished second in a team of five veterans with the score he shot at the home international competition in Ireland to secure his spot.
Slatter trains at the Ian Coley shooting school in Andoversford, and counts the GB shooting coach, who mentored Peter Wilson to double trap Olympic gold last summer, as a friend.
He said: “He helps me out a lot.
“He notices if I am doing something wrong, and gives me lots of advice.
“His son, Phil Coley, also runs programmes called Play Shooting Success, which focus on the mental side of the sport, such as how to prepare and how to control your nerves.
“I will use what I learnt with that programme in the build-up to the world championships.”
If you wish to sponsor John Slatter in his shooting exploits, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.