ONE of Guyana’s tested, tried and proven fullbore top shooters, who have made their mark at the Caribbean level where Guyana has dominated for many a year, Lennox Braithwaite, has received full sponsorship to compete at the 150th Imperial Meeting of the National Rifle Association of England, set for July this year.Having been to what is commonly known as Bisley seven times before, Braithwaite, who first attended in 1988, and won an event then known as ‘Gorka Appeal’, will make his eighth trip, fully sponsored, compliments of Secure Innovations and Concepts Inc., located at D’Urban Backlands.On Monday, Managing Director Harold ‘Top Gun’ Hopkinson handed over a cheque to Braithwaite valued at $1.2M which represents full sponsorship for the July event in England which will attract the best exponents of the sport from around the world.Also attending the simple but significant presentation were vice-president of the Guyana National Rifle Association (GuyanaNRA), Colonel Enoch Gaskin, secretary Ryan Sampson and Fullbore vice-captain Dylan Fields.Hopkinson, in brief remarks, before handing over the cheque said that he has always had the view that athletes should not be running around and literally be begging for sponsorship when they want to represent the Golden Arrowhead.“The reason I am doing this is because I believe that athletes should go out there and perform – not go about the place searching and sourcing funds, begging, begging, begging, no. I do believe that corporate entities should start backing our athletes more even through established federations and associations.”Braithwaite expressed his delight to Hopkinson and Secure Innovations and Concepts for being fully sponsored for this historic event.“Mr Hopkinson from time to time would have sponsored me in the past. In fact, my rifle known as ‘The Beast’ would have been sponsored by Mr Hopkinson. I do pledge to make Guyana, Mr Hopkinson, my family and my club, proud on this occasion.”Responding on behalf of the GuyanaNRA, vice-captain Fields said that he was very pleased that Secure Innovations Inc. and Mr Hopkinson have been able to partner with the association by taking up the tab fully for Braithwaite.“I also would like to encourage other corporate bodies to do likewise as it is important for the nation to have its best athletes able to focus of representing well rather than having to take on the burden of running around for sponsorship as well.”Many of the top shooters from England had made the long journey to Guyana two years ago to celebrate with GuyanaNRA when it celebrated its 150th Anniversary, which had also coincided with the hosting of the West Indies Fullbore Shooting Championships.Competing at the 2014 Imperial Meeting (the last time he participated), Braithwaite ended 40th of 800 shooters and made the Queens Final which attracted the top marksmen gunning for the top prize of £250, which had been presented to the first winner of the competition 150 years ago, 1860 to be exact. That amount has been maintained through the years.Following is the history of the competition as taken from the National Rifle Association Website:The first Imperial Meeting was contested on Wimbledon Common, in south-west London, in 1860 when Queen Victoria fired the first shot and gave a prize of £250 to the best individual marksman. Originally the meeting was only available to Volunteers (regular and reserve military personnel) using the issued service rifle of the day.Yesterday the National Rifle Association held the Imperial Meeting as an open competition, with the aim to promote and encourage marksmanship throughout the Queen’s (or King’s) dominions. It has grown to include many different disciplines.The largest entry is for Target Rifle, which dominates the final week of the meeting and culminates with the final of the Queen’s Prize.The Queen’s Prize remains the premier award for the meeting’s top shot, with the £250 prize still given to the winner.Host to the competition is The National Shooting Centre – Bisley, the world renowned ranges complex, covering virtually all forms of shooting from air rifle to 1200 yards full-bore shooting. Set in 3 000 acres of heathland; Bisley is as unique in character as it is in the variety of ranges it offers.The atmosphere at Bisley is second to none, with friendships made and renewed on the firing ranges every year, but the event does not end with the shooting: the famous Bisley clubs take over and between shoots and at the end of each day, competitors enjoy the Bisley hospitality at its best.