At the gentle age of 19 Alistair Davis may be the youngest member of the South African Olympic team in London, but he is also the only one of them that will be armed.
He’s a big gun man, a clay target shooter whose weapon of choice is a shotgun. He’ll hate the description, but he looks like a baby-faced assassin, one that causes a double take when he is pointed out as the man Sascoc hope will have a golden gun in London.
“I use a twelve-gauge shotgun,” said Davis at the SA team announcement yesterday. “There are three disciplines that are shot at the Olympics and I do double-trap shooting.”
For those wanting to know, Wikipedia, the go-to wonder drug for journalists, describes double- trap shooting as “two targets released simultaneously from the house. They follow set paths, usually 35 degrees to left and right of straightaway. The shooter can take one shot at each target. In international Double-Trap competitions, the course of fire is 75 doubles for men and 60 doubles for women. As the men’s event enjoys Olympic status, it also involves a 25-double final for the top six competitors.” So now you know.
Davis is the oldest of triplets, with his brother also an international shooter. His brother failed to qualify, but Alastair has had to go halfway around the world to make sure he got on the plane to London – Morocco, Slovenia, Serbia, the US and then to Italy.
“I won the African shooting champs in Morocco last year so I secured a quota (Olympic) place,” said Davis. “Sascoc set out a quaification score in order to see that I was a medal contender, which was 140 out of 150. I travelled five times in the last 11 months to try and achieve the score and I got it on my last chance, in Italy. I shot a 141.”
That score would have been enough to get him into the final of the 2008 Games in Beijing where 136 made the top six, and the three medal scores were 144, 141 and 140.
Davis went to Pretoria Boys High and is now doing a B. Comm in accounting sciences at Pretoria University where his sister is studying to be a vet and his brother an engineer.
“I’ve loved shooting since I was a little boy,” he says, “shooting with a pellet gun. And then we went to my aunt’s 50th and at a game reserve called Warthogs in the North West, they had shooting as one of the activities. We were hooked. My dad (Frank) shoots, but more on a social level, and he’s our coach. The average age of the guys I’m shooting against ranges from 25 to an Australian who is 49. I’ll definitely be one of the youngsters at the Olympics.”