First year PhD student, Ben Mcilwaine, won the gold medal at the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) clay shooting championships on the 3rd December 2017.

Ben took first place in a Championship with over 400 other competitors signed up to compete. He achieved the top score of 92 out of 100 targets, winning by three clear points – a clear margin in Sporting Clay shooting. Ben was the only representative of Cranfield University to compete in the Championship, whereas other universities tend to field between 20 and 40 competitors in their teams. Even after competing in wet and un-favourable conditions on the first day of the two-day competition, he still managed to win the Championship with a score that couldn’t be beaten on the Sunday.

Ben has been competitively clay shooting for 5 years, and was first bitten by the bug when he went with his dad at the age of 12. He has competed nationally and internationally in his sport and has won various major titles in recent years.  Although he has not been able to shoot much this year, due to his academic work, he still managed to ‘smash the clays’ when it mattered.

“The great thing about clay pigeon shooting is that it’s a friendly and safe sport and anyone can do it.” says Ben. When asked what the best part of the sport is, his response was, “Winning is definitely the best part.”

Craig Wilde, Sports Officer at Cranfield, said “Ben is the first student to represent Cranfield University in clay shooting, and his win has gained 12 BUCS points for the University on the national league table.” Ben’s win raises Cranfield University almost 10 ranks higher on the current overall BUCS points leaderboard.

Ben is currently the only student at Cranfield University participating in this sport.  In his spare time he is an instructor at a premium plus English shooting ground – Honesberie Shooting School – which is located between Banbury and Northampton.  If anyone would like to get involved or find out more about the sport, then you can email Ben at: Ben.mcilwaine@cranfield.ac.uk

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