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Barnes ready to defend NCB Capital Markets title

Published:Sunday | March 22, 2015 | 12:00 AMShayne Fairman
Shaun Barnes (right) winner of the 2014 NCB Capital Markets Sporting Clays Open with the winner for the ladies section, Alysia Evans.

Four-time national shotgun champion, Shaun Barnes, will be hoping for another championship performance at today's NCB Capital Markets Sporting Clays Open, at the Woodleigh Shooting Range, May Pen, Clarendon, today.

Action starts at 10 a.m, with the biggest names in local sporting clays set to face off and battle for the respective prizes, honours and bragging rights.

Reigning A Class champion is the cool and dynamic Shaun Barnes, who scored an impressive 92 to win last year's title. Geoffrey Ziadie was second with 90 birds, and Craig Simpson third, also with 90 birds.

"NCB hosts one of the best sporting clays competitions every year. I was fortunate enough to have my name etched on the trophy last year, and can't wait to see what the presentation of targets will be like this year," Barnes said.

"Without a doubt, I will be giving this my best shot, as everyone who will be in attendance (shooters) poses a challenge. I'm just looking forward to competing well," he added, while declining to make any predictions.

In last season's A Class winning enclosure were: sharp-shooting juniors Brandon Reid and Nicholas Chen of Hillel Academy. They topped the category with 89 and 88 birds, respectively.

Today's junior competition could be expected to go the distance, with Nickolai Clarke, a worthy challenger billed to rival Reid and Chen, for the title.

Clarke comes into today's shoot with wins from the American International School of Kingston SportsFeva Sporting Clays tournament in February, and the Digicel Cup 2014 Inter School Clay Challenge, late last year.

Both wins were at the Portmore Range in St Catherine, and with today's shoot set for central Jamaica the new star will no doubt have to prove his mettle in a new environment.

150 SHOOTERS COMPETING

Meanwhile, central Jamaica's Alysia Evans could turn out to defend the women's title she won last year, with 53 out of 100 targets. A total of over 150 shooters will be competing in today's tournament.

Khaleel Azan views the number as important for the sport.

"Everybody is looking forward to this shoot. It is the biggest shoot of the year, and not just another shoot, but a qualifier for national team selection," he indicated.

"This is a qualifier for the 2015 World English Sporting Clay Championships in Florida scheduled for April 14-19. We (Jamaica) have been invited out of 700 entries worldwide," he added.

Azan told the Sunday Gleaner that 20-30 shooters will be representing Jamaica, at what is arguably the Olympics of Sporting Clay.

"Today's event will be the ideal confidence and momentum builder for members who will represent Jamaica," he assured.