Chris Pitt targets higher
BEING confined to a wheelchair proved no handicap for Bundaberg’s Chris Pitt as he claimed two titles at the recent Australian Shooting Games at the Belmont Range in Brisbane.
The 46-year-old Bundaberg Pistol Club member will be hoping to continue his success when he heads to Brisbane today for his first taste of international competition at the Australian Cup tomorrow and Saturday.
Pitt said he only gained his shooting licence 18 months ago and the Australian Games were only his second competition event away from Bundaberg.
He lined up with some of the best in a field of more than 100 assembled from all over Australia.
Shooting in the International Paralympic Committee wheelchair class, he took out the 25m Pistol with a score of 540, and also beat all comers in Air Pistol with 545.
Pitt said he has been wheelchair-bound since the age of 12 after first falling ill when he was 10, and for many years, he did not participate in any sport.
“But I started a bit of golf with family and friends, just socially, going back six to eight years ago, but I am friends with two other wheelchair shooters, who joined a few months before I did, Luke Gale and Des Graham,” Pitt said.
“They talked me into coming to a Come and Try day, and once I did, I have been hooked ever since.”
Pitt has never received any coaching in shooting and does not know why he has made such a rapid climb to the top in the sport.
Before the Australian Games, Pitt said he had “only shot one or two district-type open shoots”.
“But most officials were pretty impressed with my scores after such a short time in shooting - most people take four to six years to reach where they are happy with their level of performances, but my scores were quite impressive, apparently,” he said.
“Luke and Des have only competed at club shoots and odd open shoots but somehow I have gone on to higher honours.
“My club has applied for coaching which is provided free for Queensland Pistol Club members, but so far I have just listened to people, taken a bit of advice from anyone who has been willing to help, and read a nice art of shooting tips and put them into practice.
“I compare shooting to golf - as you know, you have a few good shots and a few bad shots and it’s the same with pistol shooting - you have some good shots and wonder why you can’t all the time, and it becomes a bit addictive.”
Pitt is looking forward to coming up against international shooters this week and is hoping it will be another stepping stone.
“I think there’s a bit of improvement in me yet and Queensland Pistol president Michelle Sandstrom wants me to join the Pistol Australia National Performance Squad - my scores make me eligible to join and they see a bit of potential in me and it will lead on to bigger and better competition if I choose to go that way,” he said.