PARALYMPICS: Shooting star Skelhon confident of a medal in Rio

Stilton shooting star Matt Skelhon is confident he can bring another Paralympic medal back from Rio later this year.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 2:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 3:32 pm
Matt Skelhon in action.

The 31 year-old has been named in the GB team for the third successive Paralympic Games and he’s determined to keep up a 100 per cent medal-winning record.

Skelhon won a gold in the R3 10m air rifle prone mixed SH1 in Beijing in 2008. He finished second, failing to defend his gold medal by three tenths of a point in London four years later when he also won a bronze medal in the R6 50m air rifle prone mixed SH1.

That latter event is now considered Skelhon’s best as he holds the world and european records.

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Matt Skelhon with his silver medal from London 2012.

“I’m confident, but I’m not taking anything for granted,” Skelhon stated. “I must have a good chance of bringing home a medal, but the standard is so high, one poor shot could cost you everything.

“I’ll be competing against the same shooters in Rio so I know I can beat them all, but I need to be at my best.

“Preparation for Rio is already under way. As a team we are having training camps in England every week, apart from a couple of weeks when we will go to Germany for practice and for some competition.

“We fly out to Rio on August 31 and my first event is September nine so there will be time to acclimatise.

Matt Skelhon with his silver medal from London 2012.

“I’m excited, but I’m also very nervous. I always get nervous before a big event, but when we start competing I’m sure I will be fine. I have a lot of experience now so I know what to expect.

“I was confident I would be selected, but it’s stil a great feeling when the official confirmation comes through. It becames real then and I now can’t wait to get started.”

Skelhon is the most decorated athlete in the 10-strong shooting squad.

He joins triathlete Lauren Steadman from Sawtry and footballer Ryan Kay from Stanground as locals to be selected for the GB Paralympic team.

Skelhon’s success has not gone unnoticed in the corridors if power in the UK either.

His local MP, Shailesh Vara said: “This is great news. Matt is a terrific athlete and I wish him the very best for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I am sure the whole nation will be backing Matt and the rest of the British team in Rio.”