Belfast Telegraph

Have gun, will travel... winner Jack sets his sights high

All sportsmen and women know how problematic transporting their equipment can be, nowhere being more difficult to negotiate than airport security.

So imagine how rigorous the process becomes when your main piece of kit is a rifle in full working order. It can take up to five hours to satisfy all the regulations before being allowed on board an aircraft.

But despite all the checks and precautions every time he competes outside the province, young shooter Jack Magill (20), from Randalstown, has stuck with his sport and progressed undeterred.

And now has dedication has been recognised with the latest Rainbow Communications Sports Award, in partnership with the Mary Peters Trust, to aid his travel and practice costs.

Jake, currently studying Computer Science at the Ulster University, took up shooting at just 13 years old. He explained: "I was interested in joining the Air Training Corps (ATC) in first year of school, but wasn't able to join until second year. I had no idea that shooting was involved in the ATC, but once I found out, I really wanted to give it a try and once I did, I knew it was for me.

"I regularly train with a .22 rifle (which is the size of the round fired) every other Friday and compete with this rifle. However, it is more difficult to train with a fullbore target rifle, as you need to book a range at Ballykinler. Luckily the skills are transferable so not firing a fullbore rifle regularly doesn't have a negative impact on my performance.

"Shooting is a very competitive sport which is what I love about it. For the past few years along with my friends and long-term teammates, Peter Gilleece, Eric Macaulay and Adam Smith, we have competed against each other and I really believe that I wouldn't be in the position I am now without that competition and comraderie.

"I am proud of my achievements to date, including competing in a number of events against Canadian cadets in the past year. The GB under 25s team were unable to attend, so I was included in an unofficial team which was a great experience.

"I would like to thank Rainbow Communications and the Mary Peters Trust for selecting me for this sports award. The funding has enabled me to compete in the annual Imperial competition at the National Shooting Centre in Bisley, as well as being part of the ATC team tour of Canada earlier this year. I am currently aiming to acquire my own rifle from a club and in the future I would love to take part in more tours to other countries."

Stuart Carson from Rainbow Communications, which is Northern Ireland's largest independent business telecoms company, said: "Jake took up shooting at the tender age of 13 and it is great to see him doing so well and aiming high for continued success in the years to come. Rainbow Communications is delighted to continue to work with the Mary Peters Trust to support the next generation of sports stars and I wish Jake all the very best in his future endeavours."

Dame Mary Peters added: "We in Northern Ireland have previously had a lot of talent and medal success from shooting. It is a very expensive sport and travelling to compete I know can be very challenging as airports, rightly so, have a very rigorous security to go through meaning they very often have to turn up five hours before a flight. These young athletes need both a metal and physical toughness that most people don't appreciate, I commend Jake and his team mates for their dedication."

To find about how to apply for the award, visit