British Army shooter Sam Gowin (right) Commonwealth Games bronze

British Army shooter Sam Gowin has won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in the 10-metre rapid fire pistol event, despite only starting the discipline a year ago.

The Royal Artillery sergeant performed phenomenally to secure a third-place medal for Team England on Australia's Gold Coast.


Speaking after securing his medal, Sgt Gowin is quoted by British Shooting's website as saying:

"It feels great. It's such a great way to end such a long period of training."

"The plan now is to just keep training. What I will be doing now is focussing on a new training programme which is still rapid fire, but incorporating the different types of pressures that I've learnt at the Gold Coast."

Sgt Gowin also spoke about how the Army allowed him to pursue a career in the sport. He added:

"I started with target rifle when I was 15. [I] did that for a few years and then I joined the Army. But when I joined I couldn't shoot for three years as I needed to focus on my career, which I'm glad I did.

"Then I started with combat shooting... This involved operational theatre where you are subjected to a high level of stress, running around with your helmet, rifle and secondary pistol, with pop up targets and casualty drags. But while there I decided to see how far I could go with [competitive] shooting. 

"So, in November 2016, I joined [the Army's] Troops to Target [programme]... This allows me to train full-time with task support as well - and I've just taken it from there really. 

British Army Commonwealth Games shooter Sam Gowin
Sgt Gowin in training for the Games

Although he enjoyed competition shooting within the military, he's only been part of the Troops To Target since March last year.

The service has invested in athletes who they hope will feature at the 2020 Olympics.

Before he went to the Games, Sgt Gowin told Forces Network about the unique mental challenges he would be facing Down Under, saying:

"This is one of those sports where, although it can be frustrating at times, you really can't afford to get angry.

"Some other sports, if you're getting angry or uptight you can run faster or punch harder. This one you can't."

"You have to be able to control those emotions, try and ignore them in a way... It's all about [the] process."

Cover image courtesy of Dan Peled/AAP/PA Images.

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