Fifth gold medal would be perfect birthday present for Calvert
For David Calvert, the journey started as a teenager at Campbell College and now he is aiming to celebrate his 67th birthday with another gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Calvert enters the Games with a record of four gold and four bronze medals and as he, incredibly, approaches his 11th appearance on the Commonwealth stage the hunger for glory is as strong as ever. Indeed, Calvert insists that preparation could not have been more meticulous, believing that he and Full Bore partner Jack Alexander are in better shape than four years ago when they just missed out on a medal.
"It means a huge amount to me to be representing Northern Ireland once again at the absolute pinnacle for shooting. Being born and brought up in Northern Ireland, I really do enjoy this honour," said Calvert (right).
"My shooting started at the RAF cadet force in Campbell College, shooting was one of the activities and I really took to it. I had a real passion for it and I remember going up to the Divis rifle range to practice. We'd be driving up the Shankill with a car full of ammunition - and of course it was before the Troubles started. I did that right up until 1969."
Calvert would eventually head to England and as a member of the RAF he continued his shooting development, representing Ireland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A mixed pairs bronze medallist in 1982, Calvert struck individual gold in 1994 in Victoria, a feat which he repeated in 2002 while he also clinched double pairs gold with former partner Martin Millar in Kuala Lumpur 1998 and four years later in Manchester. Having warmed up for the Games by competing at the South African Championships, Calvert and Alexander believe they are in the frame for a medal Down Under.
"I think there is a fair consensus that England and Australia are seen as the favourites and then there are a whole bunch including ourselves who can threaten them. We are certainly in better shape going into these Games than the last one," said Calvert. "We're as confident as we've ever been. We're better prepared both individually and as a pair - Jack is performing very well."
Whether he returns home with a medal or not, Calvert is hoping that it will not be the last time he has the chance to represent his country as the hosts of the 2022 Commonwealths, Birmingham, have axed shooting from the Games. "I would very much hope that it would get back in again," he added. "It's such an important incentive for our athletes - it's the pinnacle of competition and especially for Full Bore because it is not in the Olympics."