Inspired to succeed
John Walker was inspired to take up archery after watching the Paralympic Games in London 2012. Four years later he won Individual and Team Gold medals in the Rio Games in 2016. John has now returned to his first passion of rifle shooting, and is hoping to replicate his success at Tokyo 2020:
“While serving in the British Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corp I found I excelled in rifle shooting, and could shoot a 25mm group at 300 metres. I loved my time in the Army, but was sadly discharged due to injury. I then worked as a survey engineer on ships and travelled all over the world. While at home on leave in 2011 I took my bike out and had a devastating, life changing accident, leaving me with a partially paralysed right arm and multiple injuries that meant I had to use a wheelchair.
While recovering from my injuries I watched Matt Stutzman compete in Archery at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and thought ‘I could do that!’ I decided to make a shoulder harness with a release mechanism which allowed me to shoot with one arm. I was spotted at my very first shoot by the head coach at Archery GB and was asked to join the squad. I then went on to become European, World and Paralympic Champion within 5 years. After my success in Rio I was invited to Buckingham Palace to be awarded my MBE.
My passion for rifle shooting has never left me but I wasn’t sure if I could still do it after the accident. I found Rugeley Rifle Club and a brilliant coach in Martyn Buttery, also ELEY’s Customer Range Manager. I bought my rifle after a lot of research and found that with my disabilities I could shoot from my wheelchair or a bench, so I made my own bench which works perfectly for me. I did find that getting the butt plate in the right position is difficult with no feeling in my shoulder, but it’s a problem I’m determined to solve.
My ambition now is to become successful in two different sports: archery and rifle shooting. I believe that if you are focused and determined enough, no matter what your disability, you can achieve success. There are always clubs out there with disability awareness and the feeling of shooting is something everyone should try.
Never give up, dreams can be achieved.”
John Walker MBE