Strange times for crack shot and Olympic hopeful Ben Llewellin

Ben Llewellin in competition action

Guest writer Fraser Watson looks at one of Pembrokeshire’s top Olympic hopes – and chats to Ben Llewellin about the unusual position he finds himself in!

It’s a strange time to be involved in sport, but for Ben Llewellin it’s probably stranger than most.

The 25-year-old remains on course to compete for Team GB in the Men’s Skeet shooting event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And yet even if he does qualify, it could all be futile.

Eagerly anticipating the chance to shine at the very top sporting event

Medal winner Ben LlewellinLlewellin, from Rudbaxton, is currently scheduled to compete at the European Championships in France in May. While he missed out on an automatic spot for the Olympics, he will earn a place in Japan should he be the highest non-quota finisher in that competition.

And as further hope, the highest ranked shooter in the World will be given an Olympic wildcard. Llewellin currently lies ninth - but having just reached the finals of a World Cup event in Cyprus he is hopeful of rising above those he needs to when the updated rankings are released on April 1st.

Short of actual competition

But if he does go to France, and it remains an ‘if’, then like other shooters he will do so short of competitive appearances.

“We’ve already had two World Cup events cancelled, and when you’re building towards something you prefer to have that competition flow,” he told Telegraph Sport.

“So I feel like I’m going to the Europeans with little experience of big tournaments this season. I’ll be relying on my form in training and just have to hope that has been ok.”

The big stage is nothing new to him mind, having come away from the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Delhi with a silver medal.

And he does enjoy one advantage that many in other sports do not right now. His training range is at his home, so the current closure of leisure facilities won’t hamper his preparations.

Hot shot Ben LlewellinPre-games ‘tester’ called off

However, whilst Tokyo 2020 has been the subject of much controversy with organisers seemingly keen to push ahead as planned, the reality is the ultimate event for so many will now not happen as the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate on a global scale.

Indeed, Llewellin was invited to the pre-games tester event at the venue next month, but that is now off although he insists he’s not letting the uncertainty distract him.

“For me it was all about qualifying for the Olympics this year and that’s now no longer the case. So I haven’t got ahead of myself and started thinking about what might happen.

“Right now it is all about focusing on the European Championships and if I do what I need to then my goals will change. But until then, I can’t worry about what may or may not happen.”

It’s a sensible stance to take. And despite what has happened with regard to the inevitable postponement of the greatest sporting event of all, everyone in Pembrokeshire will be hoping to see him on the Olympic stage at a later date!