Sharp-shooter John strikes European gold

A Norfolk grandfather is celebrating after striking gold in an international clay pigeon shooting tournament. Retired builder John Dyson, from Lynford, near Thetford, beat off competition from hundreds of top shooters to claim the European Championship veterans title.

A Norfolk grandfather is celebrating after striking gold in an international clay pigeon shooting tournament.

Retired builder John Dyson, from Lynford, near Thetford, beat off competition from hundreds of top shooters to claim the European Championship veterans title.

The 57-year-old said the gold medal at Lake Garda, in northern Italy, was the highlight of a 36-year clay pigeon shooting career.

Mr Dyson, who has shot for England and Great Britain at competitions across the world, said that to be placed fourth out of the 700 European entrants was particularly pleasing.

“I have won silver and bronze medals in individual events and gold for the England team, but that was 15 years ago. My eyes are not what they used to be, so to come fourth overall at my age is quite a feat,” he said.

The amateur shooter, who practices at Lakenheath Country Club, hit 180 out of 200 clay targets during the three- day competition, ten shots ahead of his nearest veteran rival and only eight away from overall victory.

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Mr Dyson added that he was looking forward to defending his title in Austria next year and his wife, two grown-up children and four grandchildren were very proud.

“I have been in and out of the top 20 in the world for the last 20 years, but this is a fantastic achievement. England and Great Britain is the best in the world at clay pigeon shooting, we always win gold medals at the Olympics, so it is unbelievable that we do not get more coverage,” he said.