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17 October 2014

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Shooting

Alister Allan shoots Olympic silver 1988

Alister Allan

© SCRAN

Born in the small Fife village of Freuchie in 1944, Alister "Jock" Allan is Scotland's most successful ever competitor in the Commonwealth Games, winning a remarkable tally of ten medals. Equally impressively he also won two Olympic medals, European and a world title in his career.

After learning to shoot when he joined the Air Training Corps as a youngster, Alister's Commonwealth successes began in the 1974 games in Christchurch, New Zealand, when he won a bronze medal in the Smallbore Rifle "Prone" category. Four years later, in Edmonton, Canada, he improved upon this performance by winning the gold medal in the same event.

The 1982 games in Adelaide, Australia, proved to be Allan's most successful competition as he won two gold and one bronze medal. He won gold in the Smallbore "3 position" event (40 shots standing, 40 kneeling and 40 in the prone position) and a second as he partnered Bill MacNeil in the "Air Rifle" Pairs. The same duo finished third in the Smallbore "3 Position" Pairs competition.

shooting medal

© SCRAN

In front of his own countrymen when the Games were held in Edinburgh in 1986, Allan added a further three medals to his tally. He finished as runner-up in both the Smallbore Rifle "Prone" and "3 position" competitions and again combined with MacNeil to finish third in the Pairs version of the "3 position" event.

Returning from Auckland without a medal in 1990 might have been a sign that Alister's career was coming to a close, but he returned to form in Canada in 1994, when he won a further two medals in the Victoria games. Paired with Bill Murray, he took the silver in the "3 Position" Rifle Pairs and he also took bronze in the individual Smallbore "3 positional" competition.

Over a period of 20 years, Alister won three gold, three silver and four bronze medals in Commonwealth Games. However, his list of successes did not end there.

In 1978 Alister won the World Championships for the 50 metre Rifle "Prone" category and in 1982 he set a world record, scoring a maximum 600 points in the event.

Alister Allan and John Knowles

© SCRAN

Not surprisingly given his other achievements, Allan represented Great Britain for 26 years and starting with the Mexico City games in 1968, he was selected for the Olympic team five times. A consistent performer he achieved a top-ten finish in each of those Games, gaining reward for his endeavours in the Smallbore "3 position" rifle event. He won medals at both Los Angeles and in Seoul, South Korea.

In the USA he finished third and picked up the bronze medal and four years later when he was selected for the same event he improved upon his earlier performance to finish second and get the silver. Each time he finished behind another Briton, England's Malcolm Cooper, the gold medallist on both occasions.

Ironically, the three position event was considered the lesser of "Jock's" chances, but in his preferred option of the prone competition, he finished out of the medals, coming fifth, eighth and ninth.

In 1989 he was awarded the MBE for his services to shooting and when he finally retired from competition he became an international coach. Alister was elected to the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.

Written by: Dave Low

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