Liverpool target shooter Ruth Mwandumba is working with British Shooting in a bid to improve diversity in the sport.

Mwandumba is England’s first-ever black rifle shooting champion, achieving that unprecedented feat in 2018 and repeating the trick in 2022.

When the 28-year-old took up the sport in 2018, she was part of just 0.5% of black British competitive shooters.

Six years later, that is still the case.

But the Scouser has been working to change that, making the sport more inclusive for all – no matter their skin colour or background.

“I’ve been working with British Shooting,” said Mwandumba.

“We launched an initiative called “Target Change”, which has the aim of diversifying the sport.”

“We travel around to different locations in the UK and we kind of just hold like a free come and try event over the course of a weekend.

“We invite people of all ages and abilities and backgrounds to come and try it.

“They’ve managed to be quite successful the ones that we’ve held so far.

“(We need to do) a lot more of that, going to a lot more different cities and towns to try and get people involved.”

The shooting champion was inspired by black role models Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams when she was younger, but never had anyone in her own sport to look up to.

Now Great Britain’s only black female rifle shooter has become a role model for other people from ethnic minorities wanting to be successful in the sport.

“I’ve kind of taken on and become that role model,” added Mwandumba.

“At the beginning, it was definitely unintentional. I think just the fact that I am the only (black woman) in my sport.

“Naturally, people from ethnic minorities would actually look to me (for a role model) because I was the only one to look up to.

“Then I kind of took on a more conscious role in trying to be a role model, because I didn’t have anyone in the sport that looked like me to look up to.

“So, if I could inspire someone else to (get into the sport), then yeah, I’m always happy to do that.”

Ruth Mwandumba - credit Craig Dower
Ruth Mwandumba – credit Craig Dower

The shooter recently competed internationally in the 2024 Olympic qualifiers in Rio, narrowly missing out on a place in the games.

International tournaments like this faced Mwandumba with new challenges as she discovered that she wasn’t just a minority in the sport at home, but globally too.

“I grew up in a very white area, so I was very used to being a minority.

“But I think the thing I probably found the most challenging at the beginning was not only in this country am I a minority within the sport, but worldwide I am as well.

“So, when it got to the point where I was getting to the level where I then started competing internationally.

“It became a bit more difficult because I was very aware, but then also I was out of the comfort zone of being within my own country and being a minority.

“It became a lot bigger when I was a minority on the world stage. So, I think that took a while to kind of get used to… that was maybe a bit challenging.”

Ruth Mwandumba - credit Craig Dower
Ruth Mwandumba – credit Craig Dower

The two-time English target shooting champion may have missed out on a place at the games in Paris, but is way ahead of schedule ahead of the LA Olympics.

“I was brought onto the world class programs by British Shooting, they brought me on as a LA 2028 hopeful – Paris 2024 wasn’t even on the cards.

“So, for me to go to the Olympic qualifiers for Paris, at the beginning of this year, if you’d have told me that – I wouldn’t even expect to have been going.

“I think if anything, the experience has been great, and definitely prepared me for the next one in four years when they come around.”

(Featured image – credit: Craig Dower)