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Friendly fire - Barnes, Sasso put aside rivalry for Jamaica glory at Pan Am Games

Published:Friday | June 7, 2019 | 12:20 AM

Two of Jamaica’s top gunners are in a race to prepare for competition in the upcoming Pan Am Games in skeet shooting. Six-time national shotgun champion Shaun Barnes and two-time national shotgun champ Christian Sasso have been in training with Italian coach Bianco Rafaelle for the upcoming Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, from July 26 to August 8. They wrapped up the second sting of training on Monday at the Jamaica Skeet Club in Portmore.

The shooters said that preparation has been going well, but Olympic skeet is completely different from sporting Clays, which is the popular shooting form in Jamaica. Jamaica also competes in American Skeet but it is still different from Olympic skeet.

Barnes sees Olympic skeet as a new challenge and that makes it attractive for him to learn and compete in.

Learning process

“I don’t know where I would stand, as I am still in a learning process [and] my confidence isn’t there with the sport as yet,” he said. “I am drawn to this activity because it is a challenge. It’s something different; it’s something that challenges me every single time I load the gun. My aim at the end of the day, is to try and be perfect at this sport, and, as such, it has my attention and a hundred per cent attention.”

Barnes is happy to have Christian Sasso as a training partner and, ultimately, as a fellow competitor when the Pan Am Games come around.

Of Sasso, Barnes said: “I feel the comfort of a Jamaican who is also at the top of his game in sporting clays. Sure, we are teammates now, and I am looking forward to making Jamaica proud in the best way possible.”

Sasso explained the difference between sporting clays and Olympic skeet.

“Olympic skeet is a lot faster, and you have to have your gun held down – not like sporting, where you can pre-mount – so it’s fast and very interesting,” he said.

He is also looking forward to competing alongside Barnes.

“Shaun and I are rivals in sporting, and we shoot completely different,” he said. “Training with Shaun is good because I can take some things from Shaun that will help me, like the mental side and maybe Shaun can take something from me, like the instinctive side. Two rivals shooting together, we can only get better.”