Innovator Ryan Cockbill believes thinking outside the box in lockdown can fire him to Paralympic glory after securing selection for Tokyo this summer.

West Midlands shooter Cockbill, who lives in Aldridge, is gearing up for a tilt at a third Paralympic Games after finishing ninth – twice – in Rio four years ago.

The SH2 star finished 21st and 17th at his home Games in 2012 but is determined to make the podium when he descends on Japan in August.

Lockdown brought about radical changes to his training methods and Cockbill, 30, reckons installing a practice facility at his Walsall home can help him capitalise on the honour of being selected.

“It’s a massive privilege to be selected,” said Cockbill, one of more than 1,100 National Lottery-funded elite athletes on UK Sport’s World Class Programme.

“We’ve been working hard, especially over the last few years, and having the extra year is going to be an advantage. I’m super excited about today, and the future.

“The hard work and sacrifices at the moment have been with the restrictions that have been in place over the last year.

“We’ve not been able to get to actual shooting ranges and not been able to leave the house in cases. So, having the equipment at home to train has been a very good thing.

“We’ve adapted part of the house – we’ve connected a shed and a metal ducting pipe so I can actually shoot the full 10m distance from my bathroom into my shed, which is a really good thing.

“It means I’ve been able to get some really good solid training in over the last year.

Royal Borough Observer:

“It wasn’t ideal at the time when everything happened, but we had to think outside the box.”

Funding from The National Lottery has helped power Cockbill’s Tokyo journey with UK Sport’s World Class Programme allowing him to train full time, access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

Cockbill, who featured at London 2012 as a fresh-faced 22-year-old, narrowly missed out on the standing and prone finals at Rio 2016 but did make the top eight at the 2018 World Championships in Cheongju.

Cockbill will bid to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding in 1997 and knows reaching regular finals holds the key to success.

“Since Rio, I’ve been trying my hardest to make sure that when I go to the World Cups and other internationals that we have, I’m a finalist,” he added.

“To get experience and to achieve those sort of finals at every competition should give me a good chance of making finals at the Tokyo Games.”

Cockbill is supported by the £30million raised for good causes each week by National Lottery players and added: “National Lottery funding is very essential at the elite end.

“It actually gives us the opportunity and the facilities to be training full-time. Without that support, we would really be struggling to be full-time, put all our efforts in and bring medals home.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo