Golden shot Kirsty sets sights on Commonwealths

HOTSHOT Kirsty Barr has set her sights on Commonwealth Games glory after striking shooting gold last week.

The Ballymena woman landed a gold and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Championships in India.

The event, in New Delhi, featured all the top lady shooters who will also be back in action at the main Commonwealth Games in India in October.

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Kirsty landed a bronze in the ladies' trap badge match – a pre-competition for the main event – but it was on the big stage that she produced a career-best performance.

"I was hoping to maybe make the top six or finish above but there was such a strong line-up, including the top three shooters in Great Britain and a number of top Indian shooters," said Kirsty, a an aerospace engineering student at Queens University.

"I hit 70 out of my first 75 targets to qualify for the top six, who go into a single barrel final, where I hit 22 – my previous best was 18 or 19.

"All the competitors' scores are displayed as you walk around but I didn't want to look at them because it's easy to lose your focus and concentration.

"I was really pleased and I hope now that I can be picked for the Commonwealth Games.

"That's what I want to focus on now and perhaps further ahead, I would like to make a Great Britan team for a world event."

Shooting has always been in Kirsty's blood – her father Clifford and mother Sandra both shot at international level.

"I was always taken to shooting events when I was young and when I turned 16 – the legal age to shoot – I thought I would give it a go, and mum and dad have been a great support to me."

Having started off shooting 'down the line', she moved on to the Olympic Trench discipline a couple of years ago and served notice of her potential by winning gold at the Commonwealth Shooting Federation's European Division Championships last year.

Kirsty has thanked her coach David Beattie and the other members of the Northern Ireland squad who went to India, as well as Tommy Beattie Guns and Ammo.

She is also grateful to Ballymena-based Carnhill Farms, where she practises, for their support.