Willett ignites Rio dream with 143 targets
Monday 25 May 2015
Current Junior World Record holder James Willett (Mulwala, NSW) posted a world-class score of 143/150 targets in the qualifying rounds of Men’s Double Trap at the Heydar Aliyev International Grand Prix in Gabala, Azerbaijan, last week.
Under the new International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) rules introduced in 2013, Willett is only the second Australian joining dual Olympic medallist Russell Mark OAM to have ever shot this score.
Mark said that it had been a pleasure coaching Willett, and that his results give him a great deal of pride.
“James is one of the brightest talents we have had in clay target shooting since Michael Diamond appeared in the mid 1980’s,” Mark commented.
“He is a natural competitor who can perform at any number of disciplines. This fact is his greatest asset. He is not just a Double Trap competitor, but a true multi discipline shooter. He simply needs to be exposed to as much competition as possible.
“James is a very long way from his best, but don’t be surprised if his first international open medal is just around the corner.”
The 19-year-old farmer is making the rest of the world sit up and take notice, after he stormed into the final of his first ever World Cup in February, shooting a new Junior World Record of 142/150. This performance, at his second international event, where he shot against Olympic medallists and improved his personal best, is a great sign for the future.
Willett displayed typical calmness throughout the match, uncharacteristic for someone so young and new to the circuit.
“I was pleased with the result at Gabala as I shot a Personal Best and qualified second into the final. The event has offered me great preparation for future competitions, as a World Cup will be at the same range in August," Willett said.
Back with a bang, Smith claims Gold in Poland
Saturday 18 April 2015
2012 London Paralympic bronze medallist Natalie Smith (Meadowbrook, QLD) has claimed the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing title, at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup in Szczecin, Poland.
A champion on and off the field, Smith has returned to Shooting, after two seasons, not only making two finals at the World Cup, but also beating the best competitor in the field, Slovakia’s 32-year-old Paralympic gold medallist Veronica Vadivocova.
Smith secured the gold medal by a margin of 1.5 points, just 0.6 of a point behind the World Record set by Vadivocova.
Smith had also made the 10m Air Rifle Mixed prone final match yesterday, after shooting a personal best score of 631.1, in a relatively new event for her.
Smith has been training incredibly hard, after a tough year, following the birth of her son, multiple major surgeries to fix injuries, and a gruelling four-month stay in hospital.
Smith spoke with Shooting Australia following the medal presentation, describing her excitement at coming back strong after a long break.
“I was happy to have made the prone final yesterday. It gave me the confidence I needed from the break I have had from Shooting,” she said.
“I was tense in the final, but kept telling myself to hold it together and keep shooting good shots. I didn’t let the screen distract me, so I just kept going until the end. That’s when I turned and looked at the screen and almost burst into tears.”
ACGA funding boosts next generation of shooting stars
Thursday 16 April 2015
Ten of Australia’s future shooting stars have been awarded $3,700 each (totalling $37,000) by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA), under the body’s NextGEN AUSComGames Squad Program.
Recent confirmation of ongoing financial support from the ACGA will support almost all athletes in the young squad to compete at the 2015 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior Cup, in Suhl, Germany, from 26 June to 2 July.
The ACGA has funded elite junior athletes including promising junior shooters every year since 1996 through the NextGEN AUSComGames Squad Program (previously known as the Australian Junior Commonwealth Games Program).
The NextGEN AUSComGames Squad Program is designed to assist junior athletes to gain international competition experience so that they understand the conditions and environment which they will face as seniors; and to assist those junior athletes who have the potential to be selected in future Australian Commonwealth Games teams.
Australian shooters have established a great reputation at the Commonwealth Games, with the last edition in Glasgow recording an outstanding eight medals (six gold and two bronze).
ACGA Chief Executive Officer, Perry Crosswhite, said, “As well as preparing athletes for the next Games, the ACGA has always looked to Australia’s representation at future Games and provided our promising junior athletes with funding support to enable them to continue their sporting careers. So many times promising athletes need funding support when they are at the junior level.”