Former Felsted pupil Matt Coward-Holley has won bronze for Team GB in the Men's Trap Shooting!
Matt, who is reigning World and European Champion, is Felsted’s 21st Olympian and we are over the moon that he has fulfilled his aim to secure a podium finish at this year’s Olympics.
Aged 26 from Chelmsford in Essex, Matt made his Olympic debut at the Asaka Shooting Range in the men’s Olympic trap shooting discipline. After a shaky start, making only seven of his opening 10 shots, he then responded with 14 in a row to get back on track, finally finishing on 33/40, a remarkable finish under massive pressure. Matt was among Team GB's gold medal hopes but just missed out on a gold medal play-off by one shot to Czech shooter Jiri Liptak, who went on to defeat compatriot Kostelecky in a sudden-death shoot-off.
Matt commented to the press; “I am a little bit lost for words - it's my first Olympics so to come away with a medal, it's phenomenal."
Matt took up trap shooting at 16, whilst still at Felsted School, and quickly rose through the ranks, competing for the England Shooting Team for the European, World and Home International Championships. He began shooting at the age of 8, but at 12 gave up to focus on his promising Rugby career. However, a bad injury four years later resulted in Matt going back to the sport he was introduced to by his father. In his last school report, his Felsted Housemaster at the time (Richard Feldman) noted; “I look forward to him becoming a world champion shooter”, an aim he has fulfilled in addition to an Olympic medal! We have been following Matt's progress with great interest over the years and are delighted that his hard work and dedication has been recognised.
Matt also competed in the mixed trap shooting, with Kirsty Hegarty. They won gold together at the World Cup in Italy in May, and Kirsty finished 16th in the women's trap shooting in Tokyo. Despite shooting incredibly well (Matt 73/75 and Kirsty 70/75), they did not do quite well enough to qualify for the medal finals. Their score of 143 placed them 10th, with the bronze medal qualifiers both scoring 146, and the gold medal qualifiers scoring an incredible 148!
Even so, a remarkable first Olympics, and in a sport in which lots continue into their 40s, there could be a few Olympics still to come!
We look forward to him returning to Felsted to inspire our pupils about his Olympic experience. Our last Olympic medal winner was over 30 years ago, when Robert Cattrall won Bronze as part of the GB hockey team in 1984.