Hot-shot Daber targets national glory

Philip Daber, centre, stands proudly on top of the podium after his triumph at the Mid Pyrenees Clay Pigeon Shooting Championships in France
Philip Daber, centre, stands proudly on top of the podium after his triumph at the Mid Pyrenees Clay Pigeon Shooting Championships in France
Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Olympic hopeful Philip Daber announced himself as a clay pigeon shooter with a bright future after making it to the French Championships.

But the 16-year-old will not be able to battle it out for honours at the tournament because of his English nationality.

And now the sharp-shooter from Hambledon could have a dilemma on his hands over where to place his national allegiances.

Daber, who currently lives in France, has quickly established himself as a marksman of real promise across the Channel.

The former Kingscourt School pupil stormed to the prestigious Mid Pyrenees Clay Pigeon Shooting Championship title after rounds of 23, 24, 23 and 18 from a 100-clay day.

That enables Daber to go on to compete at national level in August.

But organisers have insisted he will not be considered a full entry unless he’s a French national.

His parents are now looking to talk to the sport’s bosses on these shores to see if he can compete in England.

Daber’s success has amazingly arrived just a year after taking up the sport.

Now he is being touted as a future Olympian.

In whose colours remains to be seen – although Daber admitted his preference would be to represent the nation of his birth.

The fast-emerging talent is, however, determined to put in the work to see his talent realised.

‘It’s going well and it’s only been since last year that I’ve started to do clay pigeon shooting,’ said Daber.

‘When I came here there was a chance to do it up the road, so I went there and it went well.

‘I shoot every weekend on Saturdays and then I do competitions on Sundays. I did the Midi Pyrenees and I won that.

‘It went very well apart from the last round.

‘I looked at the scoreboard and knew I had to hit 12 clays.

‘I did 18 which gave me 88 out of 100 after rounds of 23, 24 and 23.

‘Everyone keeps telling me that I’m going to be a future champion. It’s great to hear that. I don’t know who I would compete for yet, though.

‘I live in France at the moment and that would be easier, but I’d like to do it for England.

‘I want to do well, though. I think to myself that someone has to do it, why shouldn’t it be me?

‘If you want it that much you will get it in the end. You just have to keep going and going.

‘I want to work as hard as I can to make that happen.’

There’s an emotional edge to Daber’s tale, with the man who had a big influence on his shooting – Trevor Trenchard – recently passing away.

Trenchard, from Froxfield, taught the talented teenager as a child, but missed him making his big breakthrough in France.

Now Daber is hoping his success will be noted elsewhere on these shores.

He said: ‘I always shot when I was younger, but never clay pigeon shooting.

‘I was taught to shoot in England and the guy who taught me to shoot died not long ago.

‘The day before he died I qualified for the French Championships.

‘I never got to tell him, but maybe he was looking down at me.

‘And maybe someone in England will see what I’m doing now.’