Rifle star Richard Bray has once again been selected for a prestigious sporting programme, keeping him on track to emulate Paralympic greats Ellie Simmonds, Hollie Arnold, and Ade Adepitan.

The 45-year-old is targeting a Commonwealth and Paralympic double assault after becoming British champion, buoyed on by his third year as a beneficiary from charity SportsAid.

The Cardiff-born star was born with Sacral Agenesis - a rare congenital disorder which occurs in 1 in 60,000 births - but has never let that stop him chasing his sporting dreams.

He is the reigning SH1 British champion in the 10-metre class and hopes similar success across the country can provide a springboard to the world’s biggest competitions.

“I want to go to the Paralympics and Commonwealth Games,” said the Poole-based rifler.  

(Image: Richard Bray)

“It's a pipe dream, but it is achievable. LA 2028 is my goal at the moment and if the Commonwealth Games go ahead in 2026 and there's 10 metre shooting on the programme, then that as well.

“My next goal is to try and hit the qualification score to be selected to go to a major international.

“To get to that level is a bit of a dream really. I can't put into words what it would mean. It's the end game for everything.”

It was when the Cardiff-born star’s mobility began to deteriorate a decade ago that a friend suggested he joined a gun club.

It proved to be one of the best pieces of advice he has ever received and led to a first meeting with his idol and triple Paralympic gold medallist Deanna Coates.

“I’ve shot ever since I was a kid but mainly in fields, in my parent’s back garden and friend’s gardens," he said.

“Around 10 or 12 years ago my mobility got really, really bad, I didn't think I'd really enjoy going to a gun club, but I did, and I tried all the different disciplines.

“From there I attended a coaching course at Stoke Mandeville to teach people how to shoot. That’s where I met Deanna Coates and she said we'd like you to try out for the Paralympic programme.

“I tried out for the programme, and I’ve been shooting for British Shooting ever since, it’s been great.”

Bray is one of 50 athletes supported by a partnership between SportsAid and Pitching In, a multimillion-pound grassroots sport programme established by Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral.

These athletes are Great Britain's brightest sporting prospects. They are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports based on set criteria from each. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000 with money generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charitable funds, and fundraising activities.

“Without SportsAid and Entain funding, a lot of people couldn't do it,” said Bray.

“Parents help and friends help, and you've got donations and stuff like that, but it doesn't go very far when you look at the grand scheme of what everything costs now.

“Without SportsAid’s support, I’d have been looking at trying to raise money by selling things I don't want to sell, borrowing money, credit cards, not going to certain competitions, saving on the entry fees and hotels and stuff like that.

“Having the support and help of SportsAid has enabled me to carry on competing without having to worry where the money is going to come from.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more.