Shooter Karen Butler achieves her dream at 2012 Paralympic Games
Bristol paralympic shooter Karen Butler missed out on a medal at the 2012 Games – but loved the experience.
At 45, Butler is a veteran of three previous Games but she had to fight her way back into the GB team after not competing in Athens in 2004, then missing out on Beijing with carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrist.
After failing to make the finals of her first two events at London 2012, an emotional Butler described her sixth place in the 50m rifle 3 positions SH1 on the last day of shooting as an "overwhelming" achievement.
Butler, from Bradley Stoke, said: "I feel relieved but elated. That's the experience I've been dreaming of. I've achieved my goals. A home Games is a once in a lifetime opportunity, we're never going to do this again."
Having finished 12th in the air rifle standing and 23rd in the 50m rifle prone, Butler was determined to make a final on her return to the Paralympics after a 12-year absence.
The event requires accuracy from three positions – prone, standing and kneeling – and Butler needed all her concentration. Lying 11th after the first two series, with only eight to qualify, she held her nerve to leap up to seventh after the kneeling series with a total of 559.
Having set herself the goal of moving up at least one place in the final, she hit that target when she scored 10.6 with her eighth shot. Her final score of 91.8, for a total of 650.8, raised her above Poland's Jolanta Szulc as China took gold and silver through Zhang Cuiping and Dang Shibei.
Butler's coach, Robin Taylor, 71, came out of retirement to help her compete in London.