Taking aim - Barnes looking to hit CAC Games targets
Shaun Barnes, co-captain of Jamaica's team to the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games currently under way in Barranquilla, Colombia, was quite surprised when he was told that he would serve in that capacity at the multi-event championship.
After all, and like he acknowledged, it is quite rare to see a competitive shooter being given such a responsibility for a Jamaican team.
However, the six-time national shooting champion is looking forward to the experience and is hoping that the recognition is an indication of increased respect for the sport of shooting. He is hoping to use it as a platform going forward.
"It was a real surprise when this opportunity came up. I always thought about persons who are very distinguished athletes standing in shoes like this, so when the opportunity presented itself, I got goose-bumps same time, but I am really honoured and happy," Barnes told The Gleaner ahead of his departure to South America.
"It's amazing. Years ago when I used to watch persons older than me shooting for Jamaica, I never envisioned myself being a national champion, much less a six-time national champion, and giving the sport as much exposure as it has got to date," Barnes added. "Moving forward, this is a great opportunity not only for my sport, but to give Jamaica more recognition in this discipline.
"It is obvious now that our sport is getting some recognition. I would really appreciate it if we could get a little more - more is always good, and support in terms of funding heading our way. I have always thought and said that some of the best shooters in the world are from Jamaica, but we have not been exposed or given the opportunities to make a mark. Hopefully, we will be better able to expose ourselves and produce a medal sometime in the future."
On that matter of gaining experience, Barnes, who will be competing in the Olympic trap event, which gets under way with qualifying action on Thursday at 8:00 a.m., says he will be using the opportunity to improve technically.
"Because we are not accustomed to Olympic trap just yet, we are in the learning phases, so this competition will be a great opportunity for us to generate a lot of information and learn different tactics on how to prepare ourselves better for years to come," Barnes said.
Squash player Chris Binnie, who won a bronze medal in men's singles competition on Saturday night, is the team's other male captain.