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Taking a shot at emerging sport on the world stage

By Warwick Lane

Mr Joe Botton represented England at the Slingshot World Cup.
Mr Joe Botton represented England at the Slingshot World Cup.

A Newark man was on target as he represented England at the first Slingshot World Cup.

Mr Joe Botton, 34, travelled to the small town of Gualdo Tadino, near Perugia, Italy, to take on the best shooters in the world.

He took up slingshot after posting a photograph of his catapult online, which prompted a friend to ask if he wanted to take up the sport.

Competitors use a slingshot made of wood or metal to knock down different-sized discs.

After practising for a couple of weeks, Mr Botton won his first competition and progressed.

The World Cup included 24 nations and England finished fourth, behind Spain, China and Italy.

In the individual event, Mr Botton was 59th out of 240 shooters.

"England is well behind in the sport compared with the rest of the world," he said.

"The catapult is frowned upon here and seen more as a naughty boy’s toy.

"However, in Italy they teach 7,000 schoolchildren how to shoot one.

"There are discussions to try to get slingshot into the Olympics. The sport really is growing."

Mr Botton said slingshot gave him the opportunity to meet people from around the world.

"I have made friends through these events that I would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise," he said.

"We have a shared interest and come together as a community. You feel like one big family.

"I have a competitive side, which adds a bit of edge to it. It is a great sport and I want to see it grow."

Mr Botton hopes to find a venue in Newark to set up a club and teach people the skills involved in the sport.


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