JAMES Birkett-Evans is training his sights on World Championship glory.
The 37-year-old from Great Barrow will spend the next few weeks honing his skills at the North Wales Shooting School in Sealand ahead of his appearance in Cyprus during the second week in September.
Birkett-Evans, who works at CSP Audio Visual on Deeside Industrial Park, secured a place in the three-man Great Britain team on the back of one of the most successful years in his shooting career. Since winning bronze for Wales at last year's Commonwealth Games, he has won the UK Championship at Beverley, Humberside, and last month fired his way to victory at the British Grand Prix at the National Shooting Centre in Bisley, Surrey.
He hit 191 clays out of 200 to carry off the sport's most coveted domestic title.
'It's been a great year for me since the Commonwealth Games,' said Birkett-Evans. 'I was about 10th in the British rankings at the time but now I'm second. I'd be delighted with a top-10 finish at the Worlds, but top-20 would be pretty good.' A veteran of Commonwealth Games in New Zealand, Canada and Malaysia, Birkett-Evans was one of the most experienced competitors lining up at last year's competition in Bisley - the only Games venue outside the Manchester area. His bronze-medal success with Newport-based partner Michael Wixey in the men's Olympic trap pairs was Wales' first of the Games.
Although he won silver in the team event 13 years ago in Auckland, last year's triumph was arguably sweeter - because it came just two years after he underwent treatment for bowel cancer.
'Touch wood, I've been all-clear since and my shooting is going well,' said Birkett-Evans, who grew up in Wrexham.
He is aiming to fare better at the World Championships than he did during the Europeans in Brno in the Czech Republic last week.
He finished a disappointing 15th and said: 'I was looking to finish higher. You always look to do better and hopefully I will in Cyprus.'