Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Atkins has his eye in at championships

Steven Atkins has proven he's among the best shooters in the world at the New Zealand Down The Line National Championships and World DTL Championships.

DAMEN FRANCIS March 20, 2014 4:05am

Stephen Atkins has had a fruitful fortnight of competition shooting in New Zealand.

The Waikato region of New Zealand is known for its black sand surf beaches, rolling green hills and as the setting for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

But Stephen Atkins wasn’t there for a holiday.

Atkins, who lives at Tongala, works in Shepparton and shoots at Echuca, spent two weeks at the Waikato Clay Target Club in Hamilton contesting the New Zealand Down The Line National Championships and World DTL Championships.

In the opening event, Atkins finished second in the triples championship, fifth in the point score championship, fifth in the national high gun and, for the second year in a row, third in the double rise.

After finishing third at the pre-world championship event in the interim, he then claimed a fourth-placed finish in the world title out of about 600 shooters, with a total score of 893.

However, Atkins did not go home empty handed, as he was also part of the Australian team that picked up a silver medal in the teams event.

After 40 years of shooting Atkins, 51, said it was about time he started hitting a few targets.

‘‘I’ve come third in a world title some years ago, but I shot okay,’’ Atkins said.

‘‘It was just one of those weeks were I shot pretty well most of the time, but didn’t quite get over the line to actually win one.

‘‘The best day I had was the last day of the world championships where I was running 10th the day before and I got myself back into fourth spot and with 50 to go in the final I actually thought I could win it, but it wasn’t to be.

‘‘I would like to have got over the line, but they’re world titles, so they’re not easy to win and that’s how it’s supposed to be.’’

Atkins is no stranger to competitive shooting.

He has been to New Zealand at least 10 times and is the president of Echuca Clay Target Club, which he said boasted one of the best facilities and shoots in Australia and was a key part of his success.

‘‘If you can win there regularly it puts you in good stead to win anywhere,’’ he said.

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