Commonwealth Games: Our David Calvert always a sure shot for medals
Veteran shooting star David Calvert rolled back the years in Delhi yesterday with a superb bronze medal success.
Calvert is no stranger to medal glory having begun his Commonwealth career with Team NI back in 1978 in Edmonton, Canada and he reaffirmed his status as our most successful Games competitor with third place in the full bore singles.
And a young protege, in the form of 20 year old Matthew Hall, from Larne, also finished his Commonwealth debut amongst the medals as he too picked up a bronze in the mens 50m rifle prone singles final.
With a score of 393 Calvert was behind only Australian James Corbett (395) and winner Parag Patel who bagged the gold for England with a score of 396.
“I'm very pleased for their medals. They deserve it. They have worked hard for it,” he said.
In his ninth Games, 59 year-old Calvert, a member of Comber Rifle Club, has now won four gold and four bronzes.
“I'm delighted to win a medal. The nature of the sport is such that even a day matters in the overall performance,” he said.
“It’s been a another great Games for me.
“It’s always a terrific moment to represent your country and I am very proud to have done that again, as I was in every other Games I have competed in.
“Of course it would have been nice to have won another gold but I am delighted to have come here and won a medal.
“It’s been a superb day for me and for the entire Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games team.”
The bronze medal made up for a rare barren Games in Melbourne four years ago when Calvert finished sixth in the pairs and ninth in the singles.
Ross McQuillan was ninth in the singles and he teamed up with Calvert to finish in eighth place in the pairs event.
While a true legend of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games team nears the end of his illustrious career, young talent Hall is just starting out, but he underlined his potential by coming third in a difficult field.
Hall, a member of the East Antrim club and the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland, had qualified in third place for the final and held on for the medal despite tough competition from England’s Mike Babb.
He finished just a point behind Aussie Warren Potent and two adrift of Scot Jon Hammond who took the gold.
Hall had been a silver medallist in the Commonwealth Youth Games last year and showed that he has a bright future ahead of him by making the step up to senior status and coming out with glory on the big stage.
And he admitted this was by far the most difficult challenge in his fledgling career in the sport, not least because the wind picked up more than it has in the past couple of weeks.
“This was the hardest match I've ever shot,” he said. “There was so much pressure because the conditions were difficult as well.
“We have trained here for two weeks and the wind has been very calm. But today it was a lot more windy out there.”
“I got a silver medal at the 2008 Youth Commonwealth Games in India and a Silver at the 2009 Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.
“So that's a medal each year. This is by far the most important one though.”
When he called home he said the first thing he said to his family was: “Prepare me a steak, I've only had chicken here in India.”
Gary Duff from Dundonald ended up sixth.