Feat of clay for Franco

Francisco, second from right with the Scottish squad (picture by Lee Bowditch)
Francisco, second from right with the Scottish squad (picture by Lee Bowditch)

As ‘Franco’, Francesco di Martino is accustomed to helping customers celebrate special occasions in the Italian restaurant of his name in Peebles.

But he had cause to celebrate himself recently when representing Scotland for the first time at clay target shooting, in the Olympic Trap Home Countries International held recently at the National Shooting Centre Scotland, near Falkirk.

Originally from Massa Lubrense, near Sorrento, Francesco has lived in Peebles for 23 years, helping his wife Marrisa run the restaurant.

He did some clay target shooting as a teenager in Italy, then took up the sport again as a hobby in January last year, progressing quickly from recreational level competitions to international level and his selection for Scotland.

The weather was extremely unkind over the two days of competition, with torrential showers, very strong winds and changing light conditions making the clay targets very challenging.

From lying in third position after day one, Scotland managed to gain a place to finish second overall to Team England.

“It was not my best score but everyone found it tough in the difficult conditions and, compared to the others in the team, I am still inexperienced at this level,” said Franco.

“After starting to shoot clays again only last January, I know I can improve. I was very proud to represent Scotland for the first time and to receive my silver medal, and I hope I can be competitive again next year.”