Blind Carol's perfect as she fires her way to win title

This is Exeter (UK)
Saturday, September 15, 2007

Blind Carol's perfect as she fires her way to win title

A remarkable blind sharpshooter has stunned the gun world after scoring an 
amazing 60 bull's eyes in succession to beat her own British record. 

Blind since birth, Carol Brown, 47, from Tiverton, was joint holder of the 
national title with 599 points out of a possible 600 with 60 shots.

Now she has gone one better, taking the Scottish blind shooting championships 
with an amazing 600 out of 600 scored with 60 shots from 10 metres.

Carol used a .177 calibre air rifle with laser sights that transmit an audible 
signal via headphones to tell her when she is aiming at the target's centre.

She took up shooting six years ago after a friend encouraged her to visit a 
smallbore rifle club.

Her prowess at the sport quickly developed and she became British champion in 
the year she took it up.

After losing her title in 2002, she won it back and has held it ever since.

She is so dedicated to practice that she travels from Tiverton to Okehampton 
twice a week, taking two buses to get there.

She said: "I enjoy the sport a lot. It gives me a great buzz and it is very 
good for my self-esteem."

Her coach, Mike Phill- ips, said: "Carol really is exceptional and to score 600 
was a magnificent effort. The championships were in Aberdeen, so it meant an 
11-hour train trip for her even before she started. She really is gifted and 
determined."

Carol said: "I was a premature baby. I had a growth in my right eye which also 
affected my left eye. My eyes are pear- shaped and I have a false right eye. 
It's like seeing out of a telescope: I can't read and I can only see things 
close up.

"Acoustic shooting works by sound and light reflecting on a target 10 metres 
away. There is a laser in the gun and the sound travels from the laser into 
your headphones. It seemed a bit weird to start with but with practice you get 
used to it."

Carol was born and raised in South Molton. At the age of five she was sent to a 
boarding school for blind children in Bristol - the nearest one in the days 
before Exeter's West of England School for child- ren with little or no sight.

Further disruption came when Carol was nine and the school closed.

She was sent to another boarding school for the blind in Worcestershire and 
then left school when she was 17.

The turning point in her life came when her parents moved to Tiverton in 1987.

Then, aged 28, she went with them, enrolling in adult learning classes to 
improve her English and spelling.

She became a student at East Devon College and passed her GCSEs before 
completing an 18-month business studies course in Hereford.

Carol had also joined a blind club and was trying out new activities, but it 
wasn't until many years later, in October 1999, that she discovered people with 
little or no sight could participate in shooting.

A friend told her that a demonstration was being held at the Okehampton 
Smallbore Rifle Club.

Carol joined the club in January 2000 and the following autumn her training 
stepped up a gear.

With the help of Mr Phillips, she became British Shooting Champion 2001 and 
repeated the feat in 2003, by which time she was being coached again in 
Okehampton.

She also achieved great success abroad, winning the Dutch Open Championship 
over three consecutive years from 2002.

At this year's competition, she came home with silver and a team gold.

As well as a collection of cups for various leagues she has won, Carol also has 
around 40 medals.

"To be a good shooter takes dedication, concentration, being aware of the 
sound, and a lot of training," she said. 

11:40 - 15 September 2007 


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