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Chichester students assist in search for future Olympians

Target Tokyo

AT the end of January six students from the Sport & Exercise Science courses at the University of Chichester travelled to the Bisley National Shooting Centre to assist the Performance Pathway Team from the English Institute of Sport.

It was part of Target Tokyo: a collaboration between British Shooting, the English Institute of Sport, and UK Sport, designed to identify athletes with the potential to represent Great Britain in the pistol, rifle, or shotgun events at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The students fulfilled a number of roles, including conducting assessments of postural control and cognitive function, as well as assisting the GB Shooting coaches with their technical assessments.

Amy Warburton, from the English Institute of Sport, praised the students’ contribution and said: "The students from the University of Chichester were a vital part of a multi-disciplinary team which delivered the Target Tokyo Phase 2 assessment event at Bisley.

“Their observations of athlete behaviour and the data which they collected helped to inform selection decisions for the next exciting stage of Target Tokyo.

“The students' commitment, use of initiative and general helpfulness was very much appreciated by myself, athletes, and GB Shooting coaches."

A number of students shared their thoughts on the opportunity following the event.

This included Aimee Parr, a final year Sport & Exercise Psychology Student, who said: “The Target Tokyo GB shooting selection process was a great event to be a part of; it enabled us to work with coaches and athletes and gain an insight into both pistol and rifle shooting. We were each assigned to a group and our job was to make the event run as smoothly as possible for both the athletes and coaches.

“This involved observing the athletes and assisting the coaches in each stage of the process. Working one to one with the top shooting coaches was amazing, as they were happy to answer any questions about the sport and their experiences within it. As I am studying Sport and Exercise Psychology, I found it extremely interesting to observe the athletes and see how they coped with the pressure of such an event when the desire to succeed and compete in the Olympics is so high.”

Meanwhile Julianne Doherty, a final year Sport & Exercise Science student, added: “It was an incredible opportunity and experience. Shooting is not my preferred sport: I have never been around professional or amateur shooters, so the whole sport was very alien to me. But I learnt very quickly. We had to as when we arrived on the first day, we were shown the rooms the activities would take place, given a time table and assigned our groups.

“After that it was down to us to make sure the day ran smoothly. I feel we were trusted incredibly fast. We were group leaders, so making sure the group knew where they had to be at what time, answering any question or finding out the answers if we didn’t know. The main things learnt from the weekend were that even if it seems like something you wouldn’t be interested in, just go for it anyway, you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.”