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Bidwell improves with age

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:28 05 July 2010

Shooting star John Bidwell

Shooting star John Bidwell

Jonathan Redhead

HE may be entering the veteran stage of his career, but Lowestoft's John Bidwell shows no signs of slowing up after claiming the sixth world championship of his career.

HE may be entering the veteran stage of his career, but Lowestoft's John Bidwell shows no signs of slowing up after claiming the sixth world championship of his career.

The 60-year-old from Oulton Broad, is the FITASC Veteran World Champion after a superb showing in Cyprus recently.

Bidwell scored a tremendous 186 out of 200 to win his category by a clear four shots and finish 12th overall to add another mark to what has already proved to be a fantastic 2008 for the shooter.

The overall winner was Britain's former Olympic gold medallist Richard Faulds.

After the disappointment of not being a part of the Great Britain team for the first time in 30 years after missing out on selection competitions because of other commitments, Bidwell has been in sparkling form throughout 2008, and not been off the podium at any single competition.

He even managed to finish third overall in the annual World Cup series, despite only competing in three events out of six, claiming two firsts and a second place.

That was added to a second place finish in the European Championships and the victories in the South African and Belgian Grands Prix.

The final event he is targetting this year is the British Grand Prix to round-off a remarkable 2008 for Bidwell who has been shooting competitively for 40 years and rarely practises.

“I have had a brilliant year,” Bidwell told the Journal.

“I haven't been off the podium this year at all.

“It's the first time since 1978 I haven't been in the Great Britain squad, but I couldn't get to a couple of the selection sessions.

“I have always been pretty consistent. I've been clay pigeon shooting for 40 years and been in the top in the country since 1978.

“I've always been there or thereabouts and it's all been down to my technique really.

“I've had to work very hard on my technique over the years and it's really a technique I've pioneered, and I've written about in my books.”

But Bidwell says the key to his success is not practice.

Instead, he backs his technique and a competitive instinct he has always fostered since taking up the sport.

“I don't practise much these days,” he said, which will send a shiver down the spine of his opponents.

“I just turn up and do it. I always have a practice round when I get there.

“In Cyprus there were three days of practice available.

“I just had a round of 25 shots. It didn't start off too well, but I got myself straightened up a bit, and thought, 'that'll do'.

“I don't compete in the smaller events nowadays.

“I just turn up for the big ones and just do it.

“I still like competing and still like the competitions.”

Bidwell is already planning his quest to take on the world again and win in 2009 and hopes it will take him the other side of the world to Australia next November.

Down Under, Bidwell will be competing in the world championships, a full 21 years after he won there in 1986.

And as he continues to improve with age like a fine wine, it would be a brave person to discount Bidwell claiming another world crown which would be his magnificent seventh.

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