Hot shot Ben has trials in sights

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Ashburton College pupil Ben Thomas is taking on the big guns in air pistol shooting.

Ben, 15, has been named as New Zealand’s only male air pistol shooter to compete at the Youth Olympic trials to be held at the new Commonwealth Games complex in Brisbane on October 28.

Ben and two girls, both from Whangarei Girls’ College, are New Zealand’s representatives and will shoot it out with representatives from Australasia to try to secure a spot at the Youth Olympics.

Coach Kay Perrett said Ben had worked hard and made history by taking out three of the major titles – South Island, North Island and national, something that had not been done before.

He is the only South Islander to have his name engraved on the North Island and National Junior Men’s air pistol trophies. Both trophies have never come south before.

Ben is in his third year of shooting through the Ashburton College air pistol programme run by the Ashburton Pistol Club, which has been working with the college for 12 years.

Ben is not the first shooter to reach this level. Braden Kell did in 2011 and went on to represent New Zealand at the Oceania Games and won a bronze in the junior men’s event.

Mrs Perrett said that with the records he has set, Ben Thomas is the name for the future and he had a good chance of bringing home gold.