Fighting fit after a career saving shoulder operation, Olympic skeet shooter Craig lakey is on target for a fantastic year.
The 29 year old is just one selection shoot away from a place in the European championships, where good performances will take him a step closer to the 2012 games.
But last year a painful shoulder injury, caused by the repetition of firing over a quarter of a million shells since the age of ten, could have ended all of his Olympic ambitions.
Craig, a former world junior and senior clay target champion, explained: “At first I thought it was just a pulled muscle, but it didn’t get any better and a scan revealed it was ripped.
“I couldn’t go to the world championships in October as it would have only made it worse.
“Someone recommended Mr Roger Sloan, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull as a shoulder specialist and I had my surgery just before Christmas.”
The key-hole operation used the very latest techniques with bio-absorbable bone anchors to fix Craig’s shoulder socket back into place.
After physiotherapy, Craig’s movement is now as good as ever.
“I look at it as a new lease of life,” he said. “All of a sudden I couldn’t compete, whether I wanted to or not. Before it meant everything if I didn’t win or didn’t perform, but it made me realise that it’s not the end of the world.
“I still love it and I’m still as passionate as ever and want to make it, but when it doesn’t go right it’s given me a fresh perspective and more enjoyment.”
After very good performances in the first two selection shoots, Craig needs to finish in the top six in East Yorkshire this weekend to be in the three-man team for the Europeans in Belgrave and Worlds in Spain. Then there will be another round of selection shoots towards representing Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.
“Selectors will be looking at performances abroad and there will be other criteria, so I need to make sure I’m top of the tree and give myself the best possible chance of being picked,” he added.