5 September 2021
Shooters Skelhon and Lambert vow to come back stronger
Low confidence plagued Matt Skelhon as the ParalympicsGB shooter missed out on the R6 Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1 final in his last event of Tokyo 2020.
Skelhon broke the qualifying Paralympic record at Rio 2016 but couldn’t match those heights on the final day of competition, a score of 615.8 seeing him finish in 13th place.
That was just two points off the top eight with ParalympicsGB teammate Lorraine Lambert rounding off her Games in 36th place in qualifying, scoring 609.2.
That brought the curtain down on a difficult competition for Skelhon, a bronze medallist at the event in London 2012 and Paralympic champion from 10m in Beijing 2008.
I gave it everything and it wasn’t enough.
“It has been a really tough week,” he admitted. “The first match I couldn’t really work out what went wrong – my training dipped at the last minute and I shot the way I was in training and that was hard to take.
“I gave it everything and it wasn’t enough.
“Today, I think I couldn’t handle the pressure. I really lost it. I am well out of competition practice, and it showed out there.
“My confidence is low and I went out and tried as hard as I could but I think that just put even more pressure on myself.
“I think 90% of it is mental – if the equipment is on point then the rest is mental – knowing you’re at a level to compete with others but we really haven’t had that with no exposure to competition for two years.
“I am sure now we can get a proper competition schedule in place I will be able to get amongst it again and build my confidence back up before the World Championships next year.
“I plan some time off so I can regroup and be ready for next year.”
Games done, now it's family time for Lorraine Lambert
Top spot in qualifying went to Natascha Hiltrop, whose score of 627.7 was enough to break the qualification world record and the Paralympic best of 622.5 which Skelhon had shot five years ago.
For Lambert, meanwhile, there were mixed emotions as her Paralympic adventure came to an end.
The Portsmouth shooter was disappointed to miss out on the SH1 final but competing at her second Paralympic Games was the experience of a lifetime.
The Japanese people have been amazing and ParalympicsGB and British Shooting have been right behind us.
“It has been a disappointing Tokyo for me but the people have been brilliant and the overall experience has been brilliant,” said the 48-year-old.
“A bit like a cockroach I will come back stronger.
“The Japanese people have been amazing and ParalympicsGB and British Shooting have been right behind us all the way so we always know we have support which is great.
“I plan to have a little break and enjoy some quality time with my son, who has just started college, and my husband.”
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