Four defending Commonwealth champions and a host of debutants will be among the 28 athletes who will take to the shooting range at the Belmont Shooting Range on Sunday April 8.
By Ashley Gillespie
The contingent includes several well-known names like Rio Olympic finalist Laetisha Scanlan, Rio gold medallist Catherine Skinner, and veterans Bruce Quick and David Chapman. But there is also a host of future stars, with seven members of the squad aged under 20, the youngest being 15-year-old South Australian Tori Rossiter.
Eight Aussies will kick off the action on day one; Elena Galiabovitch and Lalita Yauhleuskaya will be two to keep an eye on during the women’s 10m Air Pistol event; Aislin Jones will contest the women’s Skeet alongside Laura Coles who will be hoping to successfully defend her Commonwealth title in front of a home crowd. Two-time Olympian Dane Sampson and newcomer Alex Hoberg will compete in the men’s 10m Air Rifle; and World Cup medallist Paul Adams and his teammate James Bolding will also be in action in the men’s Skeet event.
Four-time Olympian Dan Repacholi will take up his opportunity to defend his Commonwealth title in the men’s 10m Air Pistol on day two with Games debutant, Kerry Bell. Young gun Rossiter will also make her Games debut next to Glasgow 2014 team member Emma Adams in the women’s 10m Air Rifle.
We will also be looking for amazing things from our two world-class Full Bore shooters Jim Bailey and Ben Emms, who have big boots to fill. Australia’s Bruce Scott won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in the Open Full Bore at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Rifle shooters Dane Sampson and James Daly will be in action on day three, contesting the 50m Prone event against one of the most decorated athletes in Commonwealth Games history – India’s Gagan Narang. Narang is hoping his history of winning gold in Australia – four gold medals at Melbourne 2006 – will repeat on the Gold Coast.
The Shotgun action kicks off on day four, with Rio Olympian and World Cup medallists James Willett and Emma Cox taking to the range in the men’s and women’s Double Trap respectively. 2014 Commonwealth Games team member Gaye Shale will also line up in the women’s Double Trap event. And veteran Bruce Quick will step up to the firing line at a remarkable seventh Commonwealth Games when he contests the 50m Pistol event, alongside team mate Repacholi.
Pistol shooter David Chapman, competing at his fourth Games and second on home soil following Melbourne 2006, will be aiming to defend his Commonwealth title on day five. He will compete in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol alongside recently crowned World University Champion Sergei Evglevski, who will be proudly supported by his team mate and Mum, Lalita. Seasoned shooters Suzy Smith and Robyn Ridley are also in action in the women’s 50m Prone Rifle.
Reigning Commonwealth champion Laetisha Scanlan and Olympic gold medallist Catherine Skinner are in action on day six, along with Commonwealth Games’ debutants Mitchell Iles and Thomas Grice. They will be looking to set the pace in the women’s and men’s Trap events
3x40m Rifle shooters Will Godward and Dane Sampson will be hoping to finish Australia’s Commonwealth shooting competition with a bang when they take to the range on the last day of the shooting competition. However they will face tough competition from India’s Sanjeev Rajput who will be keen to better his silver medal-finish at the 2014 Games.
Australia’s shooting team managed six gold medals and two bronze medals at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, making us the most successful shooting country. However, the pressure will be on like never before with nations such as India stepping up their shooting programs considerably in recent years.