By Will Castle, Sportsbeat

Banbury para-shooter Paul Barker has once again been selected for a prestigious sporting programme, keeping him on track to emulate Paralympic greats Ellie Simmonds, Hollie Arnold, and Ade Adepitan.

And the 40-year-old revealed that he is looking to British boxing legend Kell Brook on how to remain unfazed in the face of adversity.

The Stoke Mandeville-based star is staring down the barrel of a jam-packed summer in the shooting world and is full of confidence after being singled out by charity SportsAid as an athlete with the potential to reach the very top.

Hoping to make great strides in the sport this year, he admits that a key source of inspiration comes from a sphere quite estranged from para-shooting.

“One of my biggest heroes is Kell Brook,” he said. “Whichever opponent he was putting for himself, it never fazed him.

“He always did everything he could. Towards the end of his career, he jumped up two weight classes to go and fight the world pound for pound best and it just didn't faze him.

“It was just that mentality of ‘I’ll compete against whoever is put in front of me’, that never say die mentality.”

Barker has been shooting since the age of seven but only began to compete on the top level in 2019, with a British Shooting advert encouraging him to apply for a programme that was on offer.

Now a regular at the top competitions, Barker will have happy memories of the Swansea surroundings, picking up an R3 silver in his previous trip to South Wales last year.

Hoping to go one better this time round to top the leaderboard, Swansea acts as just one of the many events Barker hopes to be competing in across the next few months.

“I’ve got the Para Sport Festival over in Swansea, then the Welsh Open in Cardiff and then the DSGB National Championships at Stoke Mandeville,” he said. “Then towards the end of this year, possibly an International Grand Prix or something.

“I've got lots of ideas, it's just a case of trying to not overdo myself. I don't want to go too far.”

Barker is one of 50 athletes supported by a partnership between SportsAid and Pitching In, a multimillion-pound grassroots sport programme established by Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral.

Selected SportsAid athletes like Barker are Great Britain's brightest sporting prospects. They are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports based on set criteria from each. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000 with money generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charitable funds, and fundraising activities.

“I would have been able to carry on to some level, but I don't think I would have been able to reach where I’m at now without the help of Sportsaid and Entain,” Barker added.

“Costs and everything involved, also all the extra bits on the side that they do with the mentality side of things and the nutrition. They've just been a huge help.

“I can't see that I would have managed to get to the stage that I'm at without the help of sponsorships.

“They also offer webinars for the psychology side of things across all sports, the nutritional benefits - which is obviously a massive help once you know what sorts of foods to take - and also for your sleep pattern.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit to find out more.