A Bradley Stoke woman is preparing to compete in her fourth Paralympic Games, twenty years after making her debut in Barcelona (1992).
Karen Butler, who has lived in Bradley Stoke for 19 years, will be representing Great Britain in three shooting disciplines: Women’s R2-10m Air Rifle Standing-SH1, Women’s R8-50m Rifle 3 Positions-SH1 and Mixed R6-50m Rifle Prone-SH1.
Her previous best performances were 5th positions in both Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996). Karen also competed in Sydney (2000) but missed out on the last Paralympics in Beijing due to illness.
Having spent the last few days at the Team GB holding camp at Bath University, Karen has now moved into the London Olympic Village. Her first action comes tomorrow (Thursday 30th) in the qualifying round of the air rifle event, held at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
The 45-year-old trains for 20-30 hours a week, both shooting and in the gym. Practising for the 10m discipline is done at Filton’s BAWA Club or Cossham but she also travels regularly to Chippenham, Stoke Mandeville and Bisley to access their 50m shooting ranges.
Karen first started rifle shooting at BAWA in 1984 when she was introduced to the sport while working towards her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. She found she had a natural ability for the sport and this encouraged her to continue.
In 1989, she went to Stoke Mandeville for a ‘come and try’ session with the Girl Guide Association and asked to try out for the GB team. Her first competition was the 1991 European Championships in Bruges, Belgium.
Karen’s debut a the Barcelona Games in 1992 came just 18 months after taking up the air rifle.
Recent career highlights include the 2011 IPC Shooting World Cup in Fort Benning, USA, where she won a ‘quota place’ for London 2012.
She feels that the sport is compelling due to the mental and physical skill needed to compete and she also appreciates the opportunity to compete against non-disabled athletes.
Outside of the sport, Karen is an assistant at her local Girl Guides (1st Stoke Gifford) and sails with the Jubilee Sailing Trust.
Click the image above to hear an interview with Karen, recorded by ITV News at a London 2012 ‘legacy’ preview event in Stoke Gifford earlier this year (interview begins at +1m 52s).
With acknowledgement to BAWA, Bristol.
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