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Joe Kitson - still revered in shooting at the age of 71
10:10am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Sport
JOE Kitson fell in love with clay pigeon shooting after responding to an advert in a local newspaper 46 years ago.
From the first moment he picked up a gun, Joe knew it was the sport for him.
Now the 71-year-old former long distance lorry driver from Quarry Bank is recognised as one of the finest skeet shooters this country has ever produced.
Revered in shooting circles, Joe has gone onto represent England 25 times, captaining his country on numerous occasions.
Despite his advancing years, Joe still competes on a regular basis and has no intention of hanging up his gun anytime soon.
He claims: “I love it! I really enjoy the competition, it gets my adrenelin going. It’s what I live for”.
Joe specialises in skeet shooting and admits: “If I’d taken up golf or snooker and been anywhere near as successful as I’ve been in shooting, then I’d probably be a very wealthy man by now, living in Jersey!
“Instead I saw this advert for a clay pigeon shoot in Bobbington, asking for people to come along. “So I went with a friend out of interest and got hooked straightaway. I just took to it. That was in 1966 or 67.
“It took me a while to get upto scratch, but I finally represented England for the first time in 1978. “It was a Home International in Northern Ireland, where I did OK and held my own”.
Joe’s been an England regular ever since – although he had to take a significant break from the sport in the early 1990’s and finally underwent a kidney transplant in 1996, but he was eventually lured back into shooting, initially in a coaching role He took David Beardsmore from Gornal under his wing, who went on to become world champion.
Joe still coaches on a weekly basis at his local shooting range at Park Farm near Ombersley. He enjoys the coaching side and confirmed: “We won a gold medal at the London Olympic in skeet shooting through Peter Wilson and since then, the sport has really taken off.
“We’re getting new people coming along all the time, wanting to take up the sport. Considering there’s a recession on, the sport is doing really well”.
Sadly, Joe has never competed at an Olympics and claims: “The furthest I’ve ever gone to shoot is in Portugal. I ran my own business for a while, so I never really had the time or the money available to take part”.
He still turns out for England, but at veteran level these days. Yet in a recent international meeting at Bisley, he scored 148 out of 150 to show he’s still got what it takes!
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