Gunning for British badge, John Price has enjoyed a fine year

CLAY pigeon shooter John Price is a world and European champion but has far from fulfilled his personal ambitions, despite a trophy-laden 2011.

The 59-year-old farmer from Steeple Bumpstead, near Haverhill, secured the Beretta European Cup in Northern Spain this summer, and added to that with title success at the Beretta World Cup, France.

Shooting in the over-55s Fitasc, England international Price is now targeting a coveted Great Britain badge.

“Once I have done it, that will be lovely. Anything else would be a bonus,” said Price, who began shooting 36 years ago.

“But there are only three places in the British team and I was first reserve in the European Championships this year, while I missed being first reserve for the World Championships by one clay.

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“You have got to shoot virtually above yourself as the boys in the team are pretty much professional and shoot the whole year round, which I cannot do.

“I’ll have another crack at it this year so we will see how it goes.”

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There are four selection shoots each year for Great Britain but because of Price’s occupation as a farmer, the summer months mean he is taken away from shooting and, combined with the standard he faces, his schedule could have a bearing on final selection.

“You take your three best scores and one of the shoots is always in August, which is no good for me,” said Price, who also won the Essex FITASC Championship this year.

“This year I was lucky enough to take first reserve in the European Championships on the back on three scores but the standard is outstanding.”

Should he not secure his dream this year – Price believes he may have to wait until he reaches the super veteran stage of 65 to achieve his aim – he can still take solace from a terrific year.

Price won the Beretta European Cup by combining his winning score at the Portuguese Grand Prix with his total at the European Championships. He did not win the latter event but adding the two scores together, was crowned European Cup winner.

He then won the Beretta World Cup by again combining his score in Portugal, a silver medal finish in South Africa and his score at the World Championships.

“I don’t keep score so when they did not call my name out for third or second, I thought I had missed out on the big prize,” he said. “I have had an exceptional year and that event [World Championship] was in June so I was lucky enough to be able to compete in it.

“I have performed really well in 2011. I don’t think I will be able to repeat my results, the World Championships are in August so that rules me out straight away, but I will try.”

Price shoots six different types of clay ranging in size on different terrains and often finds himself shooting at targets beneath him, especially in competitions in such places as France and Spain.

“Every gun shoots a fraction high so you have got to be well below the target,” said Price.

“There is such a fine margin in achieving success.”

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