J'cans ready to impress at Pan Am shooting champs
Jamaica shooting ace, Lesgar 'Speedy' Murdock, is Jamaica main hopes when the 2018 Pan American Handgun Championships shoot off at Woodleigh shooting range in Clarendon, today and tomorrow and Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at the Jamaica Rifle Association (JRA) on Mountain View Avenue.
The championship was launched inside Emancipation Park yesterday and Murdoch, 13th overall at the last World Championship, told The Gleaner he anticipates tough competition but expects to be atop the podium when the championship ends on Saturday.
"We are hosting the Pan American Handgun Championships. We are trying to grow the sport in Jamaica, as it is big all over the world. The guys overseas train more than Jamaicans. They have access to ammunition in abundance. But it is expensive here, so we can't do much but we try to do as much as we can.
"The guys are ready, they have been training from weeks. I know they are going to do great. And I am hoping to win the overall championship. I have been training every weekend and I have been training for a long time. I just have to be consistent and calm through the 24 stages and shoot my best," he reasoned.
He also added that the Woodleigh range is usually very hard to manoeuvre.
JRA president, Andrew Gardner, also expects great things from Murdoch.
"I expect Lesgar to perform very well. I 'd be surprise if he did not win the Open division. We are also looking forward to the production division. They have prepared for months and I am sure they will be rewarded with very strong results," he said.
International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) president, Vitaly Kryuchin, was pleased with the level of organisation by the JRA.
"The organisation of the tournament has been wonderful but (Jamaica) gun laws are very strict," he noted.
Meanwhile, tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, believes the tournament has enhanced Jamaica's reputation as a sporting destination. "It's a very important development in terms of the range and variety of sports Jamaica can host. It's a rare sport, but we are hosting it and we have top performers, so I am excited about the prospect of Jamaica," he said.
Nineteen countries from North, Central, South American and the Caribbean will contest the championship. Shooters will compete in four divisions, production, Standard, open and classic. The championships is open to the public.