HIGHLAND shooter Jim Main is Down Under this week as he aims to nail a place in Scotland’s shooting team for the Commonwealth Games.
The 35-year-old Clachnacuddin Small Bore Rifle Club member jetted off yesterday to the Gold Coast in Australia for a pre-Commonwealth Games competition at the new Games range.
He has made the journey along with four other north contenders: Lenny Thomson from Banff, Bobby Spence from Orkney and Neil Stirton from Aberdeen.
Main, from Tore, was introduced to the sport a number of years ago by his parents, who both shot, but took a break to go to university life and work away from the region.
After returning to the Highland capital some years ago to head up his surveying firm, Caintech Ltd, he visited the club’s display at the Moy Game Fair and after some shots on the day, this rekindled his interest in the sport.
After rejoining the club, Main has successfully taken part in club, local and national level competitions resulting in his first Scottish cap in 2015.
This fuelled his desire to further improve and subsequent inclusion in the Scottish Small Bore training squad has led to his present skill levels. His immediate aim is to make the Games squad for next year on the Gold Coast and that will involve further intensive training and competition over the next 12 months.
Setting a Scottish record and matching a British record in the Swedish Grand Prix in May may have brought him to the attention of the Scottish selection committee, who pitched him in for his shot at glory at the Commonwealth Games Shooting Federation championships.
Main, who admits the nine-hour time difference will be a test, also told the Inverness Courier his preparation for the week in Australia had gone to plan.
“The biggest challenge is perhaps the heat, along with your diet,” he said.
“We have had a nutritionist give us advice, while I have worked with a sports psychologist in Inverness. Anything that can help maintain the standards is what you’re looking for.
“The mental aspect of the sport is massive in shooting, as it is in other trajectory sports such as darts, golf or archery.
“You are looking to maintain your training levels and take that into competitions. I’m pretty happy with the preparations and fairly confident because the weekend of training went well. After three or four days, we have the pre-entry training then it goes straight into the competition.”
His stunning success earlier this year in Sweden clearly heads his high points in the sport, but he says that if he earns a place to shoot for Scotland in the Commonwealths that would top the lot.
“It’s huge for me and it would be quite an honour if it happens. I have competed in several countries including Sweden, the Czech Republic and Germany, but to reach these Games would be another level,” he added.
The Games take place from April 5-18 and the shooters are looking to add to the 12 gold, 15 silver and 18 bronzes won at this level.
Main has received, and is grateful for, financial assistance from the local Sports Council and Wm Gray Ark Estates to assist with the outlays involved in his quest for success.