Tender is good; Gold is better

Shooter Ashley Adams won an award before he even stepped off the plane in Beijing for his fourth Paralympic Games.

A champion rifle shooter in his own right – silver and bronze medals in Athens four years ago – Adams is also a prize-winning beef cattle producer on his 28,000 hectare property, which lies about 1,000km west of Brisbane.

He collected 2008 Beef Producer of the Year at the Brisbane Show in August.

``I’ve been working hard on my tender beef brand of cattle. So that’s a very magnificent thing to win,’’ he said of the award.

``That is the gold medal there for me to win for the beef cattle industry.

``The amount of work done and planning towards winning that award over the last four years is like winning a gold medal.

``And now, because we have such a good product, we can go ahead and further develop it – produce meat that is better for everyone to eat and is cost-saving to the industry.’’

So what means more? The award for his cattle or a medal in shooting?

``The gold medal – that’s what I want,’’ 52 year-old Adams said without hesitation. He was riding a motorbike around his property as a young man when he crashed.

He had a full-face helmet on and thought he would get up and simply get up and shake-off the dust.

``But I couldn't feel my legs - and that's how I ended up in a wheelchair.''

The reason he claimed the Brisbane Show prize is the work Adams and his team have done on making tender meat – via DNA.

``This meat is naturally tender…. we’ve been able to genetically select from a hair sample – do a DNA profile on the animals – on whether they are carrying the genes that release the enzymes that break down the connective tissue inside the animal,’’ he said.

``We use Brahman influence in our cattle mainly, which are naturally a tougher animal, and now in that herd we’ve found the animals who are top on this list.’’

The Adams clan use technology produced by Queensland scientists who are world-leaders in this area.

``We’re using their technology, which I’ve adapted for the last four years. We’re also working with other producers as we’re not breed-specific anymore.’’

How does a cattle producer living in such a remote part of Australia keep up his shooting training?

``I’ve got the full Australian Shooting Association electronic equipment, that’s used at the Sydney and Melbourne ranges. I have each of the machines at home.

``The Australian Paralympic Committee and the ASA have bought me those to train with. It’s the best in the world so I don’t have to go to the big cities to train.’’

He also has his hands on some world-class equipment – a rifle belonging to Australia’s only shooting medalist last month, Warren Potent (50m rifle prone).

``I’m actually using Warran’s second gun at this competition and it’s a very, very nice gun,’’ Adams said. ``For him to lend me his special rifle for the competition, it’s just one of those things you dream of.’’

Adams took on able-bodied athletes and beat then at the 2007 Australian shooting championships becoming open prone champion. So he’s good friends with many Olympic shooters and enjoys the cross-over between the two sets of athletes.

``It’s the name of this game – it’s all about Australia trying to do the best we can, work together as a team and look after each other.’’

That’s why he was grateful Potent was able to help out in his time of need. They are both coached by Miro Sipek.

``A was in line for a rifle and it didn’t turn up in time. With the way export and import permits work for rifles you need to make decisions a couple of months out,’’ Adams said.

``That’s when Warren offered it to me. It’s a special rifle – I’ve already scared the opposition, I think.’’

Potent was world No.1 in rifle prone leading into the Beijing Olympics.

by APC Beijing Media Team

Posted 03/09/2008 09:16 AM


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