Shooting Australia today announced the category nominees for 2020 Awards of Excellence to be held on November 17.

In a Shooting Australia first, the Awards evening, hosted by Jon Harker and Annabelle Williams, will be live streamed via Shooting Australia TV at 7.00pm (AEDST). With national and international competition significantly reduced this year because of COVID-19, the High Performance Awards will not be presented.

Shooting Australia Chief Executive, Luke van Kempen, said, “There just hasn’t been the right threshold of events in the period that warrants the recognition of these High Performance awards. Of the events that were completed, athletes who have excelled have been recognised with a place in the Australian Shooting Team for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held next year.”

The four Community Awards categories and finalists are:

  • Volunteer of the Year: Doug Caple (NRAA), Jeff Bell (ACTA), Graeme Harvey (PA), Sylvia Muehlberg (TRA), Tania Evans (ACTA)
  • Club of the Year; Melbourne Gun Club (ACTA), Belmont Junior Air Rifle Club (TRA), Rocky Gully Sporting Clays (SCA)
  • Official of the Year: Ray Girdlestone and Janelle Rossiter (TRA, joint entry), Dennis Claxton (TRA)
  • Coach of the Year: David Coleman (ACTA), Dina Aspandiyarova (PA), Mike Jarrad (TRA)

Mr van Kempen said the Awards reflect the important role and contribution the Shooting community plays across the country.

“We cannot underestimate the valuable contribution coaches, officials, clubs and volunteers play in our sport. They are the unsung heroes of Shooting and the Awards are about acknowledging the magnificent role they play,” he said.

“Their work has been especially challenging this year following the outbreak of COVID-19 . We recognise that people living in some states and territories haven’t had the same opportunity to take up the roles they normally would at their clubs due to the social distancing restrictions that have been in place.

“However, those clubs that have had the ability to re-boot this year have gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide their members with the opportunity to compete.

“We thank all clubs, officials, coaches and volunteers in our Member Organisation network and look forward to their ongoing work and contribution in the years ahead. Their work has been an inspiration for members of our community,” he added.

Further information;  Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications. Ph: 0418 239 139


Suzy emerged from no-man’s land to claim Athens gold

By Greg Campbell

Australia won a best-ever 17 gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, but the genesis of Suzy Balogh’s gold medal in the women’s Trap was established four years earlier at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

At the time, Balogh was a rising Trap competitor who began her international career two years earlier in a World Cup event in Brunei.

After winning the women’s Trap in the Sydney Olympics Test event earlier in 2000, Balogh and men’s Trap athlete Adam Vella were invited to be fillers at the Sydney Olympics – the 18th person in the qualification round which would allow the full rotation of shooters from the five shooting stations.

On the scoreboard, Balogh and Vella’s names weren’t listed, and neither was their nationality.

“It was the oddest time of my life. I wasn’t a volunteer, I wasn’t a competitor, I was in this no-man’s land,” recalled Balogh.

“I couldn’t go out into the public area. I couldn’t go in the athletes area. When I wanted to go to the toilet, I had to leave my gun with someone and borrow someone’s pass and head off,” she said.

Despite being this random unknown, Balogh relished the experience and shot a qualification score which would have been good enough to reach the Olympic women’s Trap final.

“It was a life changing experience in that I only thought of myself as a shooter. Seeing how the mechanism of the Olympics worked and how these people competed, it allowed me to realise they’re athletes. You’ve got to put the effort in, and you’ve got to have the dream,” she explained.

“It also allowed me to think I grew up with Michael (Diamond). I shot with Russell (Mark). I’d spent training camps with these guys. I’ve competed against them. I’ve really rubbed shoulders with them. So, it really inspired in me that it was possible to win a gold medal.

“It was a life changing experience because I went from, I’d like to go to an Olympics to I am going to go to an Olympics,” said Balogh.

With a completely new perspective on her sport and fuelled by a burning ambition to become an Olympian, Balogh won selection two years later in the Australian team for the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games where she won a bronze medal in the women’s Double Trap Pairs alongside Susie Trindall.

While she was delighted to climb onto the medal dais, the experience taught her further valuable lessons.

“It was brilliant that I got a Commonwealth Games bronze medal, but just about everyone else on the team came away with a gold, and I’m talking Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun,” said Balogh.

“I came away feeling like I hadn’t put enough effort in. I needed to restructure my life, I needed to set more goals, I needed to be more professional like taking onboard sports psyches. I was always carrying injuries and I needed to get a lot fitter and stronger.

“It (Manchester) said, ‘Suzy you’re behind the eight-ball. Come on, pick up your game’,” she admitted.

At the time, Balogh was working in Orange, in NSW’s central west, as an Agriculture Protection Officer with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and she arranged for a work transfer to Canberra to allow her to practice at the Canberra International Clay Target Club (CICTC), a short drive from her family home in Queanbeyan.

Her career and world ranking were on the rise as she travelled across the globe to compete at various international World Cup events.

In February 2004, Balogh won Australian team selection for the Athens Olympics and, a month later, she was ready to compete at a World Cup event at the Sydney International Shooting Centre.

She was going through some stretches as part of her normal pre-event warm-up routine when she damaged two discs in her back and was sent off to Fairfield Hospital.

“I couldn’t stand up. I hit rock bottom, but I was really lucky Greg Chan, the coach, had enough faith in me that I could recover,” said Balogh.

Balogh made her way to Athens where the competitors were met with windy, blustery conditions at the Markopoulo Olympic Shooting Centre – conditions Balogh relished having experienced similar at  CICTC and at a pre-Games camp in Darwin.

On the day of the Women’s Trap event, Balogh was in a positive frame of mind. On the evening prior, she had a dream about shooting and dreamt that she would win the gold medal. On the morning of the event, she looked out the window and saw the windy conditions were continuing.

“Yep, today’s my day,” she thought.

After shooting two scores of 23 from 25 targets in the first two of three qualifying rounds, Balogh missed the first five targets in the final round before downing all remaining 20 targets. She thought the five missed targets would see her omitted from the six women final.

“I came off and I was so disappointed – I thought I’d thrown it all away. I went up to Greg and said ‘I’m really sorry, all the hard work that you’ve put into me. He said, ‘what are you talking about? Get yourself ready, you’re in the final’,” she said.

Not only had Balogh reached the final, but she was the top qualifier with 66 points, one ahead of Spain’s Maria Quintanal.

Balogh doesn’t look at the scoreboard when competing but heard the roars of the pro-European crowd when the Spaniard hit her targets.

But with four targets remaining, the crowd erupted when Balogh downed her target and only then realised she had an unbeatable gold medal winning lead over Quintanal.

Balogh was then swept up in a sea of emotions and looked up at the scoreboard and saw her name and country – Suzanne Balogh, Australia, Gold Medal – a far cry from having no name and no country assigned to her at the Sydney Olympics.

“It’s the best feeling in the world knowing all the effort you’ve gone through, all the time you spent travelling and on the range that hard work pays off,” said Balogh.

Two years later Balogh won a further gold medal when she paired with fellow Olympian, Deserie Baynes, to win the women’s Trap Pairs at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

“It was such a thrill to be on a podium again and have my family there and friends and to be able to thank all those people that helped you. I’d looked up to Deserie for a long time. It was just awesome to be able to team up with her,” said Balogh.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics was firmly in Balogh sights and she was intently focused on defending her Olympic gold medal, but illness undermined that ambition.

“I’d retired from my job with the Department of Agriculture and moved home to spend more time with my family and focus just on going to the Beijing Olympics. I was ranked number three in the world, number one in Australia. I was going to those Games and I got glandular fever,” she said.

“My life was focused on that (Beijing Olympics). It was all I had. I was distraught. My hair fell out and I was in a really, really, low bad place because (in my mind) I was going to defend a gold medal. I was ready and, on the world scene, I had shot brilliantly, and the rug had been pulled from under me. It was distressing.

“That’s when I changed my life around, moved to Sydney, started up my (Hitting Targets) business so I could be where I needed to train to get myself to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, and started to fill up my life again,” she added.

However, she was controversially overlooked for selection for the Delhi Games despite shooting the second best score in the three event qualifying series.

She parked her selection disappointment and turned her attention to the 2012 London Olympics. But her performance was severely hampered by a stomach virus in the days leading up to the competition which saw her placed on an intravenous drip.

Balogh qualified third for the final shooting 72 from 75 targets in the qualification round, but Italian Jessica Rossi was peerless shooting a perfect score of 75 before only missing one target in the final to finish with a World and Olympic record of 99 from 100 targets.

In the final, Balogh’s taxing illness caught up with her and she missed the first three targets and then decided to set aside medal aspirations and enjoy the remainder of the final. “I look back on London and I’m super proud what I did. I shot a personal best and an Australian record,” she said.

Although she will not be attending the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, Balogh will be playing a key role with Australian team members and inspiring the next generation of Olympic hopefuls.

Balogh has teamed up with other Olympic gold medallists as part of the Australian Institute of Sport’s Gold Medal Ready program where they assist Tokyo team members from all sports to prepare mentally and physically for the Games.

She is also one of several Olympians involved in the Australian Olympic Committee’s Olympics Unleashed program where they look to inspire and motivate school students to be their personal best.

When able to personally attend the school, she gladly allows the students to hold and inspect her Athens Olympic gold medal.

“To me, the medal is a lovely token of years and years of hard work and achievement. It’s just not my medal, it’s Australia’s medal as well,” she said.


Shooting Australia (SA) has been successful in obtaining a Performance Pathways Solutions Grant (PPSG) from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) to help develop the next tier of Shotgun event athletes.

The $287,000 grant over two years is the outcome of a significant piece of work undertaken by SA’s High Performance Unit (HPU) and will be used to identify and develop future Australian representative athletes in both Trap and Skeet events.

The grant is separate and in addition to SA’s existing high performance funding from the AIS, which supports the continuing development and performances of current Australian and Olympic representative athletes across Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun disciplines.

SA CEO, Luke van Kempen, said the PPSG funding is recognition of the outstanding international results achieved within the Shotgun discipline in recent years.

“Australia has a proud record in Shotgun events, particularly internationally in men’s and women’s Trap, and this grant will assist us to identify and engage our future Olympic and World Championship athletes,” said Mr van Kempen.

“It’s also important recognition of the work achieved to date by our Shotgun National Program led by National Coach, Richard Sammon,” he added.

“We thank the AIS for this investment and we believe it will assist us develop Shotgun athletes who can follow in the Olympic gold medal winning footsteps of Catherine Skinner, Suzy Balogh, Michael Diamond and Russell Mark.”

Sammon said there is great depth within Shotgun disciplines in Australia and said the grant will help develop this talent for future benchmark events including the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games and beyond.

“Shooting is a sport where athletes can be highly competitive on the world stage for 10 or 20 years, so this PPSG investment carries long-term benefits for our sport,” said Sammon.

“We plan to identify and foster our next generation of Shotgun athletes and help develop their all-around skills through engagement in training camps and developmental competitions.

“Additionally, we will look to support these future stars by developing a network of coaches and support staff that will assist them throughout their journey,” added Sammon.

Further information; Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications. Ph: 0418 239 139 E: [email protected]


Peter Tait Australia’s only Sydney 2000 Paralympic medallist

By Greg Campbell

Australia’s Shooting Team arrived at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games fielding its largest ever squad of 11 athletes and with high hopes to press for medal honours.

Four athletes, Libby Kosmala, Ashley Adams, James Nomarhas and Peter Worsley, were backing up after the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games where Nomarhas secured the team’s sole medal, a silver in the Mixed Sports Pistol SH1 event.

But it was Games debutant, Peter Tait from Ballarat, who upstaged his team-mates to win Australia’s only Shooting medal when capturing silver in the Mixed Sports Pistol SH1 final.

Tait, a left arm amputee and a member of Ballarat Pistol Club, enjoyed a strong reputation as one of the districts best pistol athletes.

He was also in eye-catching form in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.

At the 1998 IPC World Shooting Championships in Spain, Tait finished 11th in the Sports Pistol, 17th in the Men’s Air Pistol, and 30th in the Free Pistol event.

But together with Nomarhas and Steven Guy, they snared the gold medal in the Teams Sports Pistol.

At the 1999 FESPIC Games in Beijing, Tait won the silver medal with team members Guy and Simon McGrath in Team Air Pistol Men SH1 event and was placed sixth in the Air Pistol Men SH1.

His build-up to the Sydney Paralympics continued at the 1999 Deutsche Meistereschaft Sportschiessen in Munich where he won the gold medal in Sport Pistol, finished ninth in Free Pistol and 10th in Air Pistol.

Then at the 1999 Oceania Championships at the Sydney International Shooting Centre, Tait won the silver medal in Sport Pistol, was placed seventh in Air Pistol and 14th in Free Pistol.

At the Sydney Paralympics, Tait maintained his impressive form when qualifying second for the final after registering a score of 568 to upstage his team-mates Nomarhas (557 points, 10th) and Jeff Lane (555 points, 11th).

China’s Wei Huang dominated qualification with a score of 573 and was a raging gold medal favourite.

And Huang didn’t disappoint in the final securing the gold medal with 669.6 while Tait and Russia’s Andrey Lebedinsky, the defending Paralympic gold medallist from the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics, tussled for the minor medals.

With home crowd support, Tait (664.7 points) held his nerve and prevailed over Lebedinsky (664.4) to snare the silver medal by a mere 0.3 points.

In addition to having his name etched into Australian Paralympic history, Tait’s medal winning performance was hailed when he was one of five Paralympians to be honoured in a new monument dedicated to Ballarat Paralympians which was unveiled at Lake Wendouree in 2018.

Apart from Tait, the Paralympic Walk recognised Ballarat Paralympic locals, wheelchair racer Greg Smith, wheelchair rugby player Brad Dubberley, wheelchair basketballer Sandy Blyth and vision-impaired field athlete Jodi Willis-Roberts.

 

 


Libby Kosmala: A champion and a legend

By Greg Campbell

Too often Australian athletes are tagged as legends when their performances do not warrant such high acclaim.

But when it comes to Australian Paralympic target rifle athlete, Libby Kosmala, her legend status is not only accurate, but also highly deserved when you consider her outstanding record, her sporting longevity, her contribution to target Shooting and to the Paralympic movement, plus her role in the advancement of people with a disability.

Kosmala attended a phenomenal 12 consecutive summer Paralympic Games from 1972 through to the 2016 Rio Games, winning a total of 13 medals, nine of which were gold.

At her first Paralympic Games in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1972, Kosmala competed in both track and field and swimming, winning a bronze medal in the pool in the 3x50m medley relay, before taking up Shooting and qualifying for the 1976 Paralympic Games in Toronto, Canada.

With an air rifle in hand, she won her nine gold medals at four consecutive Paralympic Games between 1976 and 1988.

By comparison, Dawn Fraser (women’s 100m freestyle), Andrew Hoy (equestrian) and Rechelle Hawkes (women’s hockey) are the only Australians to have won gold medals at three successive Olympic Games.

While Kosmala has laid down her rifle from international competition, she is still competing locally in Adelaide and has now turned her attention to coaching.

Kosmala knew after the Rio Paralympics, where she didn’t qualify for a final for the first time in her long Paralympic career, that it was finally time to retire from the international scene, but she only made her decision publicly official in recent months.

“I didn’t shoot well (in Rio), and I didn’t know why. I was really on top of the tree before I went to Rio. I thought this must be the end. I must not represent Australia again. Not ever again!” said Kosmala.

“Even the coach (Miroslav Sipek) agreed with me after I finished that shoot. He said, ‘Libby I think you’ve done your bit’ and I said ‘I have. I can’t do it again. This is it’.

“He agreed whereas on other occasions when I thought I should retire, the coach kept coming back to me saying ‘no, no, no, you’ve got more in you. I know you can do it again’. I was pleased in a way that he was happy that I wanted to finish,” she added.

“I kept shooting when I came home. I still really enjoy it.”

Kosmala, aged 78, re-affirm her intention to retire when she was approached by Sydney 2000 Olympian, Carrie Quigley, to re-direct her rifle experience into coaching, including youngsters taking up the sport for the first time.

“I got the offer from Carrie Quigley and she said, ‘Libby, I think it’s time you come into coaching. How about doing a coaching course’? And I’m really enjoying that. It’s really cemented my life now,” said Kosmala.

“It’s rewarding, and the kids listen to me. And they are all about my height when I’m sitting in a chair,” she added with a laugh.

While all Paralympic Games were memorable for Kosmala, the 1988 and 2000 Paralympic Games hold special family memories, while she had the distinctive honour of carrying the Australian flag at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.

At the 1988 Seoul Paralympics, her husband Stan also captured a lawn bowls gold medal to add to her three rifle golds and a silver medal.

Then at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, Stan also won selection in the Australian rifle squad and competed against Libby in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 classification.

Additionally, her youngest son James, now an Adelaide paramedic, worked as a volunteer at the Games.

Kosmala became a wheelchair user because of spinal complications at birth and did not participate in sport until after she left school.

She had not fired a rifle until she was invited to attend a rifle club when she served as secretary of the Wheelchair Sports Association of South Australia. There, she scored a bulls-eye with her first shot and her life then took off in a hugely rewarding direction.

With her Paralympic rifle career scaling the heights, Kosmala also received long-term support from the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) which contributed to her overseas travel for competition and for equipment upgrades.

“I was one of the first disabled athletes to receive funding. They (SASI) were very generous,” said Kosmala.

An enthusiastic swimmer, Kosmala maintain her swimming throughout her Shooting career and says it was a key part of her continued fitness regime which contributed to her decades of success.

“You have to be fit enough to cope with all sorts of weather and all sorts of temperatures and all sorts of competitions. For example, in 1988 in Seoul, we were shooting in a tin shed and it was extremely hot,” she recalled.

Her exposure to international competitions in Europe and in North America opened her eyes to the changes required for wheelchair users.

“When I came back to Australia, I knew we needed to push the wheelchair manufacturers. We saw athletes who were welders and engineers building their own chairs which were made to fit and made to measure,” she said.

Outside her rifle career, Kosmala became an active advocate for wheelchair accessibility.

After receiving a host of fines for exceeding parking time limits, Kosmala decided to take the City of Adelaide to court after her pleas for exemptions fell on deaf ears.

“They didn’t want to listen. They didn’t want to speak with me,” she said.

“My father was a lawyer and he thought it was a very good move to approach the Council and get Council to give us parking permits. Father said, let’s not pay the fine, that may bring Council to the party,” she added.

Kosmala won the court case and disability parking access and disability parking stickers are now in place Australia-wide.

Prior to the Sydney Paralympic Games in 2000, Kosmala travelled to the Sydney International Shooting Centre at Cecil Park, in western Sydney, with her son James and was alarmed at the lack of wheelchair accessibility at train stations.

“Luckily, I had my son with me because I could not have managed. There were no lifts in train stations. It was disastrous. I wrote to the  (NSW) Transport Minister and said how terribly worried I was. We got results and got things happening,” she said.

“The Sydney Games set a standard for other Games to follow. They were a fantastic Games, a wonderful Games. London 2012 was very close, and I loved the Beijing village,” she said.

Apart from the competition success of the Sydney Paralympics, Kosmala said the impact of the Games were far reaching.

“I think things have improved (for wheelchair users) Australia wide because of the Sydney Games in transport alone. There have been big differences and fantastic changes,” she said.

Kosmala has been at the core of change – both on and off the rifle range – and her legacy will forever remain.


Tokyo Olympic Games bound rifle athlete, Alex Hoberg, is one of 16 athletes to receive a $2,500 Tier 3 scholarship as part of this year’s Sport Hall of Fame Scholarship & Mentoring program.

The program is supported by Australian Government funding from Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and has grown from offering five scholarships since it began in 2006 to offering a total of 32 funded scholarships in 2021.

In April, Hoberg, 19, was selected by the Australian Olympic Committee to contest the 10m Air Rifle at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year following the Olympic nomination series held at the beginning of the year.

Shooting Australia CEO, Luke van Kempen, congratulated Hoberg on his scholarship saying it will assist with his preparation for next year’s Olympic Games.

“Alex is one of our finest rifle athletes and this scholarship is recognition of his continued outstanding performances at an elite level,” said Mr van Kempen.

“Alex represented Australia at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Youth Olympics in Rio and is continuing to develop his international competitiveness. We look forward to seeing him in action at the Tokyo Olympics next year.“This scholarship will compliment Shooting Australia’s investment in Alex and will help assist him with costs associated with performing at the highest level and we thank the Sport Hall of Fame Scholarship & Mentoring program for their support and assistance,” he added.

Further information;

Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications. Ph: 0418 239 139 E: [email protected]

 


Driven to succeed

By Greg Campbell

It’s been 24 years since Deserie Baynes became the second Australian woman to capture an Olympic Shooting medal when placed third in the inaugural Women’s Double Trap event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

But it was a medal Baynes, then competing as Deserie Huddlestone, was fortunate to earn.

The shooting range was located at Wolf Creek, 30 kilometres outside Atlanta, and the Organising Committee was having issues with volunteer interstate athlete bus drivers who were unfamiliar with the bus routes from the Athletes Village to several competition venues.

On the day of the Women’s Double Trap competition, where qualifying events commenced at 9am, Baynes jumped onto a bus for the normal 45-minute journey where she sat in the front seat beside gold medal favourite, USA’s Kimberley Rhode.

“We were minding our own business and travelling along, and the bus driver turned around and she said, ‘I’ve never been to the shooting range before. Does anyone know how to get there?’” recalled Baynes.

“We ended up guiding the bus driver to the shooting range. It interrupted our pre preparation. It was an unusual start to the competition,” she added.

Baynes’ day of drama didn’t begin and end with the bus trip.

She arrived at the Games as a rank outside chance of a podium finish having never won an international medal apart from the Oceania Championships.

“I was a long shot, a long shot. Up until Atlanta, I hadn’t secured a medal. I can remember it being so, so hot and humid. I had given up everything and it was a case of nothing to lose,” Baynes said.

Despite the unnerving bus journey, Baynes managed to register the equal sixth best qualifying score of 103, along with three other competitors, including her Australian team-mate, Anne Maree Roberts.

The quartet then had the endure a shoot-off to see who would claim the sixth and last place in the final to be conducted later in the afternoon.

Baynes held her nerve and ultimately pipped Roberts 8-7 after Italy’s Giovanna Pasello and China’s E Gao, were eliminated earlier in the shoot-off.

“The shoot-off seemed to go for an eternity,” she remembered.

With her place in the final secured, Baynes then had to regather her focus for the medal decider.

“One of my team-mates came up to me and he said, ‘that’s only half of it’. You have only just qualified. Now the real Games start,” she said.

In the final, Baynes was the best performing shooter with a score of 36 targets – three ahead of the gold medallist, Rhode. But Rhode entered the final with a five target lead from her carry-over qualifying score.

Baynes was tied with Germany’s Susanne Kiermayer at the end of the final, and the pair then had to shoot-off for the silver medal, which Kiermayer won 2-1.

Despite competing across the world in the years prior to the Atlanta Games, Baynes shot behind Rhode in the finals order and had never previously experienced such a loud partisan crowd which she had to face in Atlanta.

“They were so noisy when Kimberley shot. I had to think, do I wait for them to be quiet? But that would throw my timing out,” said Baynes.

“So, I decided to use their noise and encouragement as my momentum. I capitalised on it. Instead of waiting for my time to come, I’d use their noise and excitement to help lift me as well.”

She regards her bronze medal as her career highlight saying; “It so very special for all the sacrifices my family and everyone put in to get me there.”

After the Atlanta Olympics, she re-married and gave birth to son Billy in 1998 in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The Sydney Olympics saw the introduction of Women’s Trap for the first time, and Baynes earned selection for both Women’s Double Trap and Trap events.

“My first love was always Trap,” said Baynes. “I had a love-hate relationship with Double Trap. I found it to be the most frustrating, demoralising sport that they could possibly have invented.

“You either had a really, really good day, or you had a really, really bad day. There was nothing in between.”

Despite some impressive results, including gold, silver and bronze medals on the international circuit in the years leading into Sydney 2000, medical issues greatly affected her in the final months prior to the Games and she finished 12th in both the Trap and Double Trap competitions.

“It (her results) was very disappointing. I was quite ill for the Sydney Olympics. In hindsight, should have I pulled out of the team? But how do you withdraw from an Olympic team?” she asked.

Despite the frustrations of the Sydney Olympics, Baynes ultimately enjoyed the thrill of capturing a gold medal at a home Games when winning the Women’s Trap Pairs when partnering with 2004 Athens Olympic Games Women’s Trap gold medallist, Suzy Balogh, at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

“It highlighted the uniqueness about the sport of clay target Shooting because the medals were 10 years apart. It highlighted the fact that age is no barrier to being able to perform at a peak level,” said Baynes.

Apart from her gold medal, Baynes holds fond memories of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games saying, “They were a fun Games. Even though it’s an international competition, they are more of a friendly Games compared to the Olympics.”

While she has closed the chapter on her international career which began as a 10-year old when introduced to the sport by her father, coach and mentor, Gordon Wakefield in Mildura, Baynes remains actively involved in Shooting and still competes at Port Augusta Gun Club, where her husband Steven – himself a former Australian Double Trap representative – is Club President.

And she is still a fine shot.

Last year, Baynes set a new women’s long break record of 682.

In addition to competing, Baynes has devoted many years to the administration of the sport. She served as Secretary of the South Australian Clay Target Association between 2007-15 and is currently its Public Officer and a Rules Committee Member.

Last year, she was appointed to the Board of Shooting Australia, and her contribution to the sport     was recognised when inducted into the Northern Mallee Sports Hall of Fame in northern Victoria.

“I appreciate what the sport has given me and I sort of felt that I could perhaps give back to a sport that has given me so much and try and ensure and guarantee the momentum stays there and give other up and coming young shooters the opportunity,” she said.

 

 


Date  Headline Media Outlet  Athlete
September 2, 2020 Glen Eyes Another Adventure at the Tokyo Paralympics Paralympics Australia Glen McMurtrie
September 2, 2020 Pistol shooting is the right medicine for Elena VIS Sports Express newsletter Elena Galiabovitch
September 7, 2020 Para-shooting legend Kosmala retires after 12 Paralympics and 13 medals Inside The Games Libby Kosmala
September 7, 2020 Multi-talented Smith rewarded with Olympic dream AOC website Penny Smith
September 8, 2020 Shooting Australia announces 2024 World Junior Championship to be held in Sydney Ausleisure magazine Shooting Australia
September 8, 2020 ISSF awards 2024 Junior World Championship to Sydney NSW Office of Sport Shooting Australia
September 11, 2020 Chris Pitt to shoot for his spot in Tokyo Bundaberg News Mail Chris Pitt
September 13, 2020 From Olympic gold to near death, the brink of bankruptcy and a medical marvel: Michael Diamond Sunday Mail

Sunday Telegraph

Sunday Herald Sun

Michael Diamond
September 14, 2020 Rifle postal shoot in Adelaide Channel Seven Adelaide Shooting Australia
September 15, 2020 Golden Child VIS Catherine Skinner
September 16, 2020 Clive Barton relives the magic of the Sydney 2000 Olympics Northern Daily Leader Clive Barton
September 16, 2020 Interview with Clive Barton ABC TV New England Clive Barton
September 17, 2020 Russell Mark’s success on and off target VIS Russell Mark
September 17, 2020 Interview with Chris Pitt 7News TV Wide Bay Chris Pitt
September 18, 2020 Diamond’s Olympic gold tinged with sadness 7 News, Canberra Times, Sporting News Australia Michael Diamond
September 19, 2020 Interview with Suzy Balogh NSW Office of Sport Suzy Balogh
September 22, 2020 Olympic shooting class is permanent, but so are the headaches Women’s Sport Australia Elise Collier
September 22, 2020 Meadowbrook Paralympian bronze medallist Natalie Smith prepares for podium finish at next Games Quest Newspapers Natalie Smith
September 23, 2020 Natalie beats challenges in her quest for more Paralympic medals Paralympics Australia Natalie Smith
September 24, 2020 Shooting Australia creates new commercial and marketing role ahead of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Ausleisure Shooting Australia
September 28, 2020 Pitt’s shooting investment pays off with global rewards Paralympics Australia Chris Pitt
September 30, 2020 Russell’s fair play hit the mark at Sydney 2000 AOC website Russell Mark

 


Postal Pistol Competition

High Performance Program

 

ENTRY FORM

 

General Information

With Domestic travel restrictions still heavily in place, and much uncertainty surrounding the ability to schedule Events in 2020, some creative thinking has come into play to enable the continuation of competitive activity for High Performance Program Pistol Athletes.

Compete Together is a Shooting Australia facilitated three event Competition series to be held during September and November, 2020.

As a postal competition, this series of events will enable the High Performance Program Athletes to remain connected and competitive from the comfort and convenience of your local Pistol Range in preparation for the Olympic Games, 2021 Domestic Competition circuit and International Events.

Who can Enter

Entries from both Individual Athletes and Teams (Air Pistol Mixed Team) is encouraged.

Compete Together will have a strong emphasis on inclusivity, encouraging participation from Able Bodied and Para Athletes as well as Men, Women and Junior Competitors.

Event Administration

Compete Together will be coordinated by the Shooting Australia National Pistol Coach in co-operation with the Shooting Australia Events Team and all available Volunteers from the Clubs the High Performance Program Athletes attend.

The High Performance Program athletes may invite any Athletes from their Club or neighbouring Clubs to participate as an Individual or to form a Mixed Team. The Compete Together Administrators will advise Athletes on the Volunteers available to assist in conducting the three Competitions as well as the Finals. Any disputes will be resolved in consultation with the Individual Athletes or Teams.

Regular emails will be distributed to provide Athletes with up to date Competition information and results.

Event Registration: [email protected]

Event Results and General Enquiries: [email protected]

Targets

Competitors can shoot on either paper or electronic targets.

When

There will be three blocks of competition between September and November 2020 followed by a weekend of Finals.

Round 1 18-27 September

Round 2 23 October-01 November

Round 3 13-22 November

Finals 28-29 November

ISSF Rules and Regulations

The Competition for both Individuals and Teams events must be run in accordance with ISSF Rules and Regulations. The Rules and Regulations are available on the ISSF web site.

Competition Entry

Entries into Compete Together will open on Monday 31th of August and a close at 5pm on Friday 15th September.

Although it is encouraged that Athletes compete in each of the rounds, it is not compulsory. Late entry will be accepted up until three days prior to the commencement of each round.

There is no cost for Competition entry.

Individual Events

1. 10m Air Pistol (60 shots) – Men, Junior Men

2. 10m Air Pistol (60 shots) – Women, Junior Women

3. 25m Sport Pistol (60 shots) – Open: Men, Women, Para

4. 25m Rapid Fire Pistol (60 shots) – Men

Team Events (2 Person Team)

5. 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team (30 shots by each team member)

Competitors are encouraged to enter a Team representing two members from the same Club. However, in the event this is not possible, two team members from differing Clubs is also an option. Each Team can comprise of Able-Bodied, Para or Juniors Athletes. The Team Event will be deemed a competition based on a Minimum of 3 Entries.

Results

Each Competitor must provide their qualifying results by email to [email protected] by the last day within the Round timeframe. For example, Round 1 qualifying must be shot within the period 18-27 September and the last day available for submitting results will be 27 September. Any results submitted after the last day of each Round day will not be counted.

The results should be presented in:

– Electronic Targets; pdf file

– Paper Targets; pdf file of the match scanned by the Target Scan

In the event there are any issues with the scoring of the targets, the photo of the targets (maximum 10 shots per target) with a date and time will be accepted.

Jury

The Jury for the competitions will be advised to the participants prior the start of the competitions. Jury of appeal will be in charge to resolve any possible disputes.

Competition Guidelines

  • Athletes may shoot two of each Air Pistol, Sport Pistol and/or Rapid Fire Pistol matches in each competition window. This will therefore give Athletes a total of 6 qualifying scores for each Event.
  • Each Competitor must shoot their qualifying scores (60 shots for each round) for each Round of Individual Events within the designated timeframe.
  • It is recommended that the Air Pistol Mixed Teams comprise two Competitors from the same Club to enable the 30 shot match to be shot at the same time.
  • A running results table will be available on the platform that will be set up for Compete Together and this will be updated at the conclusion of each Round.
  • At the conclusion of Round 3, the top 8 ranked Competitors for each Event will be contacted to confirm their place in the Finals. Ranks and the placing in the Rank Table, will be defined by the Competitors’ best result from the three Rounds and within any of the 6 possible qualification scores.
  • At the conclusion of Round 3, the top 4 ranked Air Pistol Mixed Teams will be selected to shoot Bronze and Gold Medal Matches. Ranks and the placing in the Rank Table, will be defined by the Mixed Teams’ best results from the three Rounds and within any of the 6 possible qualification scores.
  • The Finals will be run simultaneously on Athletes Home ranges via tele-conference calls, if the COVID-19 conditions will allow.

Prizes

Individual Events: The High Performance Coach will provide the winners (1st, 2nd and 3rd places) with prizes for all Individual Events (Juniors for Air Pistol match as well). The prizes will be mailed to each Competitor.

Teams Events: The Prizes for the Teams Event (1st, 2nd and 3rd) will be awarded correspondingly. The Prizes will be mailed to each Competitor.

 

ENTRY FORM


Sydney 2000 Olympic medal memories stir Annemarie’s ambitions

By Greg Campbell

Twenty years after Annemarie Forder’s shock women’s 10m Air Pistol bronze medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, her memories remain vivid and the emotions quickly come swirling back.

On the day Michael Diamond cemented his place as one of the greatest ever men’s trap athletes with a second successive Olympic gold medal, Forder secured her own slice of history when becoming Australia’s youngest ever Olympic Shooting medallist and Australia’s second Pistol medallist after Patti Dench first climbed onto the podium at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

At just 22 years of age at the time, Forder was already an Olympian after winning a wild card entry to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where she finished a credible 23rd on debut alongside her Pistol team-mates Annette Woodward and Carol Tomcala.

“To get selected was a huge surprise and a huge honour,” said Forder.

Her Sydney 2000 medal winning performance was viewed by many as a pleasant shock, but to those in the Australian Shooting community, it was within her reach.

Forder arrived at the Sydney Games having captured two gold medals in the individual 10m Air Pistol and 10m Air Pistol Teams event at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.

And she was also the 1998 World Junior 10m Air Pistol silver medallist behind Viktoria Chaika from Belarus when she thought the gold medal was within her grasp.

Her silver medal winning performance was even more meritorious as two days prior to the World Junior Championship, Forder tripped and fell, gashing a knee and grazing her hands.

“As awesome as that was to get a silver medal at a World Championship, it was also very disappointing at the same time. I wanted to be the junior World Champion. It was brutal at the time. It hurt a lot,” she said.

“Having been so close is one of those things which makes you a better athlete. You turn those disappointments into accomplishments down the track,” she added.

While she was rising quickly through the world Pistol ranks, her path to the Sydney Olympics was rocky with more accident-ridden pot-holes along the way.

She fractured an ankle and broke a hand in 1999 before jamming a hand in a car door six months prior to the Games.

Three weeks before the Games began, she was involved in a car accident on the Gold Coast, when a passenger, which missed a turn and slammed into a telegraph pole.

Then her loving grandmother Norma Boyanton passed away five days before the Games, delaying her arrival into the Athletes Village until late on the eve of the Opening Ceremony.

Team management concluded Forder needed a psychological and emotional boost before competing two days after Cathy Freeman lit the Olympic Cauldron and allowed her to march in the Opening Ceremony instead of resting ahead of her event.

“My big goal was to get into the final. I knew that I could make the final if I shot well,” said Forder.

In the qualifying round, Forder qualified in fifth place for the final after registering a score of 385 – five points behind China’s Tao Luna, who equalled the Olympic record with a tally of 390.

“I was excited and quietly confident. I’ve always shot good finals and I was really confident in my ability to do that. Obviously, the nerves were there,” she said.

“I went and had a quick chat with Michael (Diamond) and Russell (Mark) came into the team room and they said ‘look mate, you know what you are doing. You got yourself here, just go out and enjoy it’”, she recalled.

In the final, Forder borrowed a hat to hide the glare of the bright television spotlights and began with a nervous low-scoring first shot. But she quickly found her rhythm and peeled off four successive scores in the tens before a score in the low eights rocked her momentum.

With two shots remaining, Forder sat in sixth position and turned to the crowd and urged them to find their voices and cheer her home. Not only did the crowd respond, but so too did Forder, and she used the crowd’s energy and fired final shots of 10.4 and 10.5 to climb into the bronze medal position.

The Russian world record holder, Svetlana Smirnova, needed a score of 9.6 or better with her final shot to deny Forder third place, but could only manage a 9.2.

“I was just in shock. I put my gun down and took my glasses off. Then I turned around and looked up to the grandstand and everyone was going bezerk. I saw my team and everyone jumping around,” said Forder.

“I was over the moon. I am getting goose bumps as we speak,” she added. “Everything fell into place fortunately for me after my little hiccup.”

Qualifying third for the final in Sydney was Australia’s Tokyo Olympian, Dina Aspandiyarova, who was competing for her native Kazakhstan. Aspandiyarova ultimately finished fifth in the final.

Forder won a pair of bronze medals in the individual 10m Air Pistol and 10m Air Pistol \Teams event at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.

One of her team-mates at the Manchester Commonwealth Games was Lalita Yauhleuskaya who won a 25m Sports Pistol bronze medal for Belarus at the Sydney Olympics. Her son, Sergei Evglevski, will represent Australia at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Sadly, Sydney 2000 was Forder’s last Olympics because of a debilitating neck injury primarily caused by her right arm and left dominant eye shooting style which pinched the C2 and C3 vertebrae in her neck.

This pinching sent nerve pains shooting down her right arm and despite a maintenance program, cortisone injections and having a year off after the Sydney Olympics, the injury did not sufficiently heal, and she was forced to retire six months prior to the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“I was told to stop shooting otherwise I could potentially become paralysed. That abruptly ended my shooting career,” she said.

But 16 years after retiring and now with a medical all-clear, Forder is considering a comeback and is eyeing selection for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“I still have unfinished business,” said Forder, who is a member at Gold Coast Pistol Club and the Brisbane International Pistol Club.

“It is one thing to get a medal. It is a completely different world to be an Olympic champion and that’s my dream, that’s my goal, that’s my drive. It was since I was a little kid,” she said.

“I love the sport. I’ve always enjoyed doing it and I certainly do miss it a helluva lot.”

Forder will be 46 years of age by the Paris Games and looks to Dench and Woodward as inspiration.

“Patti Dench was 52 in Los Angeles and Annette Woodward was 56 in Atlanta, and I’m only 42,” she said.

And as Forder proved at the Sydney Olympics, nothing is beyond her.