MEDIA RELEASE

World Cup champion athletes Penny Smith and James Willett shared their sport shooting experiences and Tokyo Olympic Games preparation program at Parliament House to launch the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group in the 46th Parliament this week.

Penny Smith, James Willett and Australia’s High Performance Director/Shooting Team Manager to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Adam Sachs, were special guests for the event hosted by co-chairs, Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie and Labor Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell, and the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia at Parliament House on Wednesday, October 23.

“You can’t let the bigger picture get in the way of what you have to focus on in the short term, that is one target at a time and getting the job done, and not focusing on Tokyo,” Ms Smith said of representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mr Willett spoke about training full-time on his family farm in the Yarrawonga-Mulwala district, and was asked about his nerves at the 2019 Shotgun World Cup in Mexico where he shot a World Record equalling perfect 125 targets on his way to winning Gold.

“It all comes down to going back to what you normally do in your process … trying not to miss that last shot goes through your mind,” he told the group.

Qualifications for the Australian Olympic team will be held early next year.

“The group’s role is to help promote sport shooting as a legitimate, lawful sport requiring intense concentration, steady nerves and absolute precision,” Senator McKenzie said.

“Australia loves the sport when we’re winning medals on the international stage, doing Australia proud. International shooting is hotly competitive and our female shot gunners in particular are absolutely on fire, the path to Tokyo is going to be tight.   

“We should feel proud of our sport and be proud of our sports men and women all year around.”

Mr Mitchell acknowledged the commitment our shooters made to their chosen sports.

“It was great to see our fellow Parliamentarians join us to welcome our ISSF World Cup Champions James Willett and Penny Smith, who provided great insights into the opportunities trap has given them,” Mr Mitchell said.

“I wish them every success as they pursue their Olympic dreams for Tokyo 2020.

“It is absolutely vital for the Parliament to better understand the life and experiences of our rural and regional communities and events like these are a fantastic opportunity to gain that insight.”

The Parliamentary Friends group will continue to be an apolitical organisation that connects like-minded individuals who have an interest in recreational shooting.

The Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group will promote, and coordinate events to promote, responsible shooting and hunting sports, both competitive and recreational, for Members and Senators.

The next event on the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting calendar is the very popular annual PFoS Christmas Shoot in late November, hosted by the Australian Clay Target Association.

The original media release is linked here.


INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE: Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships. October 11, 2019. Sydney, Sydney International Shooting Centre, NSW, Australia. Photo: Narelle Spangher; International Paralympic Committee

All eyes will be on Para Shooting World Cup events in the United Arab Emirates and Peru next year following the conclusion of the 7 th World Shooting Para Sport Championships in Sydney.

Regarded as the best WSPS Championship ever staged, Australia completed the competition with Western Australia’s Anton Zappelli capturing a silver medal in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 event, behind gold medallist Matt Skelhon from Great Britain.

The other Australian highlight was ACT’s Scottie Brydon breaking the world record when qualifying in the PT1 Para Trap event.

Australian Para Shooting National Team Manager, Kurt Olsen, said there were good results achieved within the team.

“The championship has given us a strong indication of where we are at present, compared to the rest of the world, and we know where we want to be in the future,” said Olsen.

“For the shooters, it’s now guns down and refresh with family and friends before refocusing on events in the New Year as we build towards the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games,” he said.

The next international event for the Australian para shooters is the World Shooting Para Sport World Cup event in Al Ain in the UAE in March.

Then the World Cup Americas Championship will be held in Peru in May where two Tokyo Paralympic quota positions will be on offer.

Para trap is not included at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and the next event for these competitors is the 2020 World Shooting Para Sport Para Trap Championships in Lonato del Garda, Italy, next September.

“We know there is great potential within the squad, and we know what we have to do to achieve the necessary results,” said Olsen.

The championship will live forever in the memories of all shooters and officials said Kelly Wright, Shooting Australia’s Head of Marketing.

“It was an incredibly successful event and was very well received and regarded by all who attended. Many competitors said it was the best-ever World Championship,” said Wright.

“The range was first class and Sydney and Australia looked great throughout the event,” she added.

“It was the first time vision impaired shooting was included in the World Championship and this event was amazing.

“Right from the outset, we concentrated on making sure the championships was athlete-focused. We made sure important areas such as hotels, transport and food were right.

“The athletes were very appreciative of the efforts of the Organising Committee and the behind-the- scenes work done by staff and volunteers.

“The athletes were very gracious, and the spirit of the event will live on for many years to come,” she added.

The Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships was held from 12-19 October. News and photos are available on the event website. World Shooting Para Sport Facebook and Twitter pages.

Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications



Canberra trap shooter Scottie Brydon set a new world record in qualifying but was unable to grab a medal in the PT1 Mixed Trap Seated final on day two of the World Para Shooting Championships at the Sydney International Shooting Centre.

Brydon was in hot form in the qualifying rounds scoring 113 points to eclipse the previous seven-year world record of 111 points.

INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE: Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships. October 13, 2019. Sydney, Sydney International Shooting Centre, NSW, Australia. Photo: Narelle Spangher; International Paralympic Committee

The gold medal was won by Italy’s Oreste Lai who defeated Finland’s Juha Myllymaki in a shoot-off, with Great Britain’s Allan Ritchie capturing the bronze medal.

Australian Shooting Para Shooting National Team Manager, Kurt Olsen, said Brydon should be proud of his world record despite being placed sixth in the final.

“He shot really well during qualifying but was unable to carry that form into the final,” said Olsen.

“He can chalk it down experience for the future. He will digest the day, learn, and move forward. But at the end of the day he shot a personal best and a world record, so he should be very proud of that,” added Olsen.

Melbourne’s Matthew Tingate also managed a personal best performance when finishing fifth in the PT3 Mixed Trap Standing final.

Italy’s Francesco Nespeca won the gold medal in comfortable fashion, but the silver and bronze medals were tightly contested.

Qualifying in third position, Tingate remained in medal contention, but slipped behind when shooting one of five targets in the third last rotation.
It proved to be an all-Italian podium with Nespeca’s team-mates Mirko Cafaggi and Emilio Poli winning the silver and bronze medals.

Olsen said Tingate was pleased with his performance. “It was his second-ever final and he is really developing fast. He set a PB in qualifying and continues to grow,” said Olsen.

Australia’s two other shooters on day 2, WA’s Duncan Burnett (P2 Mixed Trap) and Brisbane’s Mark Farrow (PT3 Mixed Trap) did not reach the finals.

The Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships run from 12-19 October. More information is available on the event website. World Shooting Para Sport Facebook and Twitter pages.

Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications


Victorian shooter Laetisha Scanlan has confirmed her status as one of the world’s best trap shooters when runner-up in the ISSF World Cup final in Al Ain, UAE, overnight.

The Frankston Australia Gun club shooter was edged out in the women’s trap final by USA’s Aeriel Alease Skinner with Italy’s Alessia Iezzi taking the bronze medal.

In a nail-biting final conducted in sweltering conditions, Scanlan held a two-shot lead after the first seven of ten rotations.

But Scanlan’s accuracy slipped in the eighth and ninth rotations when hitting three of five targets in each round, while the American shot two perfect rounds to snatch a two-shot lead going in to the final rotation.

Scanlan’s drew back a shot when Skinner missed her second target, but the American regained the advantage when Scanlan miss her third target.

“I came to the World Cup Final with the aim to medal for Australia and I am so proud to finish off the season with a silver medal. I’ve had a great 2019 and I am looking forward to a successful 2020,” said Scanlan.

Scanlan’s performance underlined her world class ability and now has her sights on the Tokyo Olympic Games in July next year.

Scanlan, 29, made her debut Olympic appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games alongside women’s trap teammate, Catherine Skinner.

Scanlan shot 10/15 targets to finish fifth overall while Skinner went on to win gold for Australia.

Scanlan is also aiming to secure Tokyo Olympic selection in the mixed team trap alongside James Willett.

Scanlan and Willett secured the mixed team trap title at the World Shotgun Championship in Italy in July when edging aside Russia’s Iuliia Saveleva and Maksim Smykov. The final result was determined in a shoot-off after both teams hit 44 targets in the gold medal match.

It marked a successful outing for Australia in an event due to make its debut on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020 following changes approved by the ISSF.

The ISSF World Cup Final Shotgun Al Ain, UAE runs from 09 – 14 October. More information is available on the event website. World Shooting Para Sport Facebook and Twitter pages.

Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications


INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE: Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships. October 12, 2019. Sydney, Sydney International Shooting Centre, NSW, Australia. Photo: Narelle Spangher; International Paralympic Committee

Western Australia’s Anton Zappelli has come within a whisker of claiming Western Australia’s Anton Zappelli has come within a whisker of claiming Australia’s first gold medal at the 7th World Para Sport Shooting Championships at the Sydney International Shooting Centre tonight.

Shooting in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 event, Zappelli finished with 252.9 points to be a mere 0.3 points behind gold medallist Matt Skelhon (253.2 points) from Great Britain, while Yan Taping (232.1) snared the bronze medal.

In a high-quality saw-sawing final, Zappelli led during the middle stages but was unable to withstand Skelhon’s strong finish.

Skelhorn’s victory confirmed his number one world ranking status while Zappelli entered the final ranked fifth.

Zappelli, a 2016 Rio Paralympian, was thrilled with his silver medal as he had to overcome equipment issues leading into the Championship.

“I was shooting really well in training and hoping for a top three finish, but last Friday my rifle went out of tune. And the issues started again in training yesterday, so my expectations were not all that high,” said Zappelli.

“However, it managed to hold together tonight, and I was very surprised with the result given the problems I was having,” said Zappelli. “The silver medal hasn’t quite sunk in yet ” he added.

Australian Para Shooting National Team Manager, Kurt Olsen, said Zappelli’s opening night silver medal was very pleasing.

“Anton shot really well and it is a great start to our campaign. It’s given the team a real shot of confidence,” said Olsen.

Ukraine’s Oleksii Denysiuk outclassed Serbia’s Zivko Papaz and China’s Xing Huang to capture gold in the Mixed 25m Pistol SH1. Australia’s Chris Pitt and Rohan Daw finished 18th and 45th respectively.

In the other gold medal event, South Korea proved too strong for China and Ukraine in the Mixed 25m Pistol SH1 team’s event. first gold medal at the 7th World Para Sport Shooting Championships at the Sydney International Shooting Centre tonight.

The Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships run from 12-19 October. More information is available on the event website. World Shooting Para Sport Facebook and Twitter pages.

Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications



Australia is poised to seize its home country advantage when the 7th World Para Shooting Championship commence at the Sydney International Shooting Centre today.

Chris Pitt (Qld) and Rohan Daw (WA) will lead the Australian charge in the 25m Mixed Air Pistol, while Anton Zappelli (WA), Natalie Smith (Qld) and Glen McMurtrie (Qld) will compete in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone.

The para trap shotgun team comprising current world champion Scottie Brydon (ACT), Mark Farrow (Qld), Duncan Burnett (WA) and Matthew Tingate (Vic) will also participate in the first day of shooting qualification.

Australian Shooting High Performance Coordinator, Kurt Olsen, said the team was capable of reaching finals and capturing medals.

“Our team has settled in well and are very excited to be competing on home soil. The first day of competition is a great opportunity to start the Championships strongly and build momentum from the outset,” said Olsen.

“We have the advantage of not having to endure a long-haul flight, compared to our competitors, and our shooters will be much fresher. In such a precision sport such as shooting, rest and avoiding jet lag is a distinct advantage,” he added.

Olsen said apart from reaching finals and capturing medals, 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games quota places will be available at the Championships.

“Anton and Natalie have already secured places for the Tokyo Paralympics while Glen and Chris have, so far, missed a quota position by just one spot,” said Olsen.

“Rohan is the greenhorn of the group and attended his first international competition earlier this year.”

Zappelli, a Rio 2016 Paralympian, and Pitt are both world-ranked in their respective disciplines.

Zappelli won a bronze medal behind Slovakia’s Radoslav Malenovsky and Germany’s Natascha Hiltrop in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone in the World Cup event in the UAE last February, and was fifth at the World Cup event in Croatia in July.

Pitt was fifth behind Ukraine’s Oleskii Denysiuk in the 25m Mixed Air Pistol in the World Cup event in the UAE.

The Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships run from 12-19 October. More information is available on the event website. World Shooting Para Sport Facebook and Twitter pages.

Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications


Russell Mark did more than just win Olympic gold, he put the sport of shooting on the map in Australia with his steady aim and likeable personality – hitting targets on and off the range.

Through six Olympic Games, including the home Games in Sydney and his golden Games in Atlanta, Mark was a popular member of the team.  From his first appearance in Seoul in 1988 to his swansong at the age of 48 in London in 2012, Mark was an Olympic fixture, so much so that even though he missed selection for Athens in 2004, he still went to the Games as an Athlete Liaison Officer for the Australian Olympic Team.

At the Atlanta Games in 1996 Mark won the gold medal in the double trap, setting a world record of 189 points by hitting 48 of 50 targets in the final round. With the win he became the first shotgun shooter to win all four of the world’s major individual titles – the World Cup, the World Cup Final, the World Championship and the Olympics. When he won silver in the double trap at the Sydney Games, he completed the set of silver medals in all four majors as well.

Mark’s exploits will be celebrated at the 35th Induction and Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday 10th October 2019 when he is inducted as an Athlete Member of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame and receives one of the highest honours that can be bestowed in Australian sport.

Mark said the inclusion amongst Australia’s sporting elite is something he would never take for granted.

“It’s not something when you start your sporting career you say your ambition and goal is to be inducted in the Hall of Fame of sport.  But once it happens it makes you look back and reflect and it’s a huge honour obviously, but I think without being too much of a cliché it’s probably a great thing for our sport,” Mark said.

It was a near medal miss in Barcelona in 1992, when he didn’t make the final by just two targets, that had a profound impact on the rest of his career.

“I remember thinking how good I was going to look in this golden Holden in Watton Street in Werribee… I missed the next shot, hit the next one and then missed the one after it and immediately lost the gold medal opportunity by two points. I was put in exactly the same position four years later and didn’t make the same mistake. I can honestly say I learnt from my mistakes from the previous Olympics.”

Immediately following the Games, in September 1992, at a major tournament in Tamworth, NSW, Mark became the first Australian to hit more than 1000 targets in succession. He finished the competition with 1177 hits in a row, breaking his own Australian record of 859 set eight months earlier.

“I took it out on everybody in Tamworth that weekend. That was probably an effort out of left field for me but I was so angry with how mentally weak I turned out in Barcelona that I swore I’d learn from it. All I could think of that weekend was Barcelona and I think mentally I became a tougher competitor by losing an Olympic Games and that then allowed me to win one.”

Like the targets he shot at, four years later in Atlanta, the opportunity for redemption wasn’t missed.

“I’d learnt from what happened four years before and I swore I’d never look at the scoreboard until I could hear everyone cheering to know that I was far enough in front that I couldn’t lose. I actually didn’t miss until my 40th shot out of 50 in that final but by then it was over, I ended up winning by a record amount by six points.”

Mark also competed in six Commonwealth Games, winning gold in the Double Trap Pairs at Melbourne 2006, two silver in the Double Trap Singles and Double Trap Pairs at Manchester 2002 and bronze in the Olympic Trap Pairs at the Auckland 1990 Games.

He competed in 22 world championships, winning two individual titles (1994 and 1997) and two team titles (1998 and 1999), as well as six World Cups and 39 Australian Open Championships, the first as a 16-year-old junior competitor when he also set a national scoring record. He had a run of twenty consecutive years from 1988 to 2007 where he won at least one Australian title each year.

“But you’ve got to win the Olympics,” Mark says.  “And it’s a mental barrier, the word Olympics changes how small the targets look and how fast they appear to go and that’s truly what happens. Everything is perfect when you get to the Olympic Games – there’s no bad backgrounds, there’s no bad technical issues on the range, everything’s perfect, it really is. Technically it should be the easiest to win but mentally those five rings do strange things to people.”

Mark entered the sport almost by accident as a 14-year-old after suffering a football injury.

“I hurt my ankle at footy training and one weekend had to turn up and watch the guys play at the Sebastopol Recreational Centre because I couldn’t play and behind me there was a guy shooting clay targets,” Mark says.

“My dad had shot a lot of clay targets and said why don’t you have a shot during half time… I went home that night and said I wouldn’t mind having a shot, I’m pretty good at this and it started by accident. I went back and played footy and cricket and never shot for Australia as a junior because I went to university and got a degree but never really got involved in it until 1986 when I tried out for the Australian Commonwealth Games team, missed out, but then made the next handful of Olympics and I ended up going to six.”

“The lure of it being an Olympic sport, I have no doubt saying that’s what got me interested in it. I wanted to go to the Olympic Games, AFL football and cricket wasn’t going to provide that path and I loved the Olympics.”

Mark is just the fourth shooter to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, joining the late Percy Pavey MBE (1985), Donald Mackintosh (1987) and Judith Trim (1999) to be afforded the honour. Mark says he’s thrilled to join them all, Mackintosh in particular, who was never listed as an Olympic medallist during his lifetime, but in 1987 was declared the gold and bronze medallist from the 1900 Paris Olympics.

“I’d love to be always associated with Donald Mackintosh. Obviously, I’ve never met him but his exploits in the sport, there’s perpetual trophies left right and centre after Donald Mackintosh’s name. He put the sport on the map and when you get your name associated with people like that you can’t be anything but proud.”

Mark credits his father Brian, who passed away in 2009, with his success.

“My father gave me the opportunities.  Brian was very keen to make sure I had an education before I followed my sporting goals and made sure I got a diploma in studies at RMIT and got all the boxes ticked away and then he really gave me the opportunity to then try and become an Olympic medallist.”

In 2009 Mark was named by the International Shooting Sports Federation as the greatest ever double trap competitor and one of the top 10 greatest marksmen of all time. The same year he was inducted into the Australian Clay Target Association’s Hall of Fame as its youngest ever member. In 1997 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the sport as a gold medallist at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Chair of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Selection Committee Rob de Castella AO MBE said: “Russell’s domination in his sport is without peer. Olympics, World Championships, World Cups both individual and teams, he’s done it all, and done it again and again at the highest level for nearly a 25 year period. Just incredible.”

Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair John Bertrand AO said: “To be recognised as the greatest ever in your discipline by your world governing body is the ultimate accolade. A great both on and off the field.”


Russell Mark will be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Australian sport’s “Night of Nights” – the 35th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday 10th October at Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.

Established in 1985, The Sport Australia Hall of Fame exists to preserve and celebrate the history of Australian sport and to inspire all Australians to achieve their potential both in sport and life.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame plays a vital role in preserving and perpetuating Australia’s rich sporting heritage, whilst promoting the values of courage, sportsmanship, integrity, mateship, persistence, and excellence, all underpinned by generosity, modesty, pride and ambition.

Along with the seven new inductees, ‘The Don’ Award will be presented to the athlete who has most inspired the nation and the Scholarship and Mentoring program recipients will be awarded. In addition, the 41st Legend of Australian sport will be celebrated.

The 35th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner

What:Australia’s most prestigious sporting awards ceremony
Date:Thursday 10th October 2019
Time:From 5:45pm (Media, VIP and Members) and 6:30pm (Guests)
Where:Palladium at Crown, Melbourne
Who:The largest collective gathering of Australian sporting greats and luminaries
Awards:The Induction of seven new Australian sporting greats into The Sport Australia Hall of FameElevation of one member as the 41st Legend of Australian SportNaming of ‘The Don’ Award winnerPresentation to the 2020 recipients of the Scholarship and Mentoring Program
Nomination:The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is determined to carry to Australians everywhere the symbol of excellence as represented by its 565 Members across all sports and genders. Membership of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is the crowning achievement of a sporting career and represents the highest level of peer recognition for an individual’s contribution to his or her sport. For more information about criteria and how to nominate please click here.

For further information, please contact:

EVENT ENQUIRIES:
Tania Sullivan – The Sport Australia Hall of Fame
T: 03 9510 2066
E: [email protected]

Original article linked here


Shooting Australia would like to congratulate Russell Mark!

Russell Mark did more than just win Olympic gold, he put the sport of shooting on the map in Australia with his steady aim and likeable personality – hitting targets on and off the range.

Through six Olympic Games, including the home Games in Sydney and his golden Games in Atlanta, Mark was a popular member of the team. From his first appearance in Seoul in 1988 to his swansong at the age of 48 in London in 2012, Mark was an Olympic fixture, so much so that even
though he missed selection for Athens in 2004, he still went to the Games as an Athlete Liaison Officer for the Australian Olympic Team.

At the Atlanta Games in 1996 Mark won the gold medal in the double trap, setting a world record of 189 points by hitting 48 of 50 targets in the final round. With the win he became the first shotgun shooter to win all four of the world’s major individual titles – the World Cup, the World Cup Final,
the World Championship and the Olympics. When he won silver in the double trap at the Sydney Games, he completed the set of silver medals in all four majors as well.

Mark’s exploits will be celebrated at the 35th Induction and Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday 10th October 2019 when he is inducted as an Athlete Member of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame and receives one of the highest honours that can be bestowed in Australian sport.

Mark said the inclusion amongst Australia’s sporting elite is something he would never take for granted.

“It’s not something when you start your sporting career you say your ambition and goal is to be inducted in the Hall of Fame of sport. But once it happens it makes you look back and reflect and it’s a huge honour obviously, but I think without being too much of a cliché it’s probably a great thing for our sport,” Mark said.

It was a near medal miss in Barcelona in 1992, when he didn’t make the final by just two targets, that had a profound impact on the rest of his career.

“I remember thinking how good I was going to look in this golden Holden in Watton Street in Werribee… I missed the next shot, hit the next one and then missed the one after it and immediately lost the gold medal opportunity by two points. I was put in exactly the same position four years later and didn’t make the same mistake. I can honestly say I learnt from my mistakes from the previous Olympics.”

Immediately following the Games, in September 1992, at a major tournament in Tamworth, NSW, Mark became the first Australian to hit more than 1000 targets in succession. He finished the competition with 1177 hits in a row, breaking his own Australian record of 859 set eight months
earlier.

“I took it out on everybody in Tamworth that weekend. That was probably an effort out of left field for me but I was so angry with how mentally weak I turned out in Barcelona that I swore I’d learn from it. All I could think of that weekend was Barcelona and I think mentally I became a tougher
competitor by losing an Olympic Games and that then allowed me to win one.”

Like the targets he shot at, four years later in Atlanta, the opportunity for redemption wasn’t missed.

“I’d learnt from what happened four years before and I swore I’d never look at the scoreboard until I could hear everyone cheering to know that I was far enough in front that I couldn’t lose. I actually didn’t miss until my 40th shot out of 50 in that final but by then it was over, I ended up winning by a record amount by six points.”

Mark also competed in six Commonwealth Games, winning gold in the Double Trap Pairs at Melbourne 2006, two silver in the Double Trap Singles and Double Trap Pairs at Manchester 2002 and bronze in the Olympic Trap Pairs at the Auckland 1990 Games.

He competed in 22 world championships, winning two individual titles (1994 and 1997) and two team titles (1998 and 1999), as well as six World Cups and 39 Australian Open Championships, the first as a 16-year-old junior competitor when he also set a national scoring record. He had a run of twenty consecutive years from 1988 to 2007 where he won at least one Australian title each year.

“But you’ve got to win the Olympics,” Mark says. “And it’s a mental barrier, the word Olympics changes how small the targets look and how fast they appear to go and that’s truly what happens. Everything is perfect when you get to the Olympic Games – there’s no bad backgrounds, there’s no bad technical issues on the range, everything’s perfect, it really is. Technically it should be the easiest to win but mentally those five rings do strange things to people.”

Mark entered the sport almost by accident as a 14-year-old after suffering a football injury.

“I hurt my ankle at footy training and one weekend had to turn up and watch the guys play at the Sebastopol Recreational Centre because I couldn’t play and behind me there was a guy shooting clay
targets,” Mark says.

“My dad had shot a lot of clay targets and said why don’t you have a shot during half time… I went home that night and said I wouldn’t mind having a shot, I’m pretty good at this and it started by accident. I went back and played footy and cricket and never shot for Australia as a junior because I
went to university and got a degree but never really got involved in it until 1986 when I tried out for the Australian Commonwealth Games team, missed out, but then made the next handful of Olympics and I ended up going to six.”

“The lure of it being an Olympic sport, I have no doubt saying that’s what got me interested in it. I wanted to go to the Olympic Games, AFL football and cricket wasn’t going to provide that path and I loved the Olympics.”

Mark is just the fourth shooter to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, joining the late Percy Pavey MBE (1985), Donald Mackintosh (1987) and Judith Trim (1999) to be afforded the honour. Mark says he’s thrilled to join them all, Mackintosh in particular, who was never listed as an
Olympic medallist during his lifetime, but in 1987 was declared the gold and bronze medallist from the 1900 Paris Olympics.

“I’d love to be always associated with Donald Mackintosh. Obviously, I’ve never met him but his exploits in the sport, there’s perpetual trophies left right and centre after Donald Mackintosh’s name. He put the sport on the map and when you get your name associated with people like that
you can’t be anything but proud.”

Mark credits his father Brian, who passed away in 2009, with his success.

“My father gave me the opportunities. Brian was very keen to make sure I had an education before I followed my sporting goals and made sure I got a diploma in studies at RMIT and got all the boxes ticked away and then he really gave me the opportunity to then try and become an Olympic
medallist.”

In 2009 Mark was named by the International Shooting Sports Federation as the greatest ever double trap competitor and one of the top 10 greatest marksmen of all time. The same year he was inducted into the Australian Clay Target Association’s Hall of Fame as its youngest ever member. In
1997 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the sport as a gold medallist at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Chair of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Selection Committee Rob de Castella AO MBE said: “Russell’s domination in his sport is without peer. Olympics, World Championships, World Cups both individual and teams, he’s done it all, and done it again and again at the highest level for nearly a 25 year period. Just incredible.”

Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair John Bertrand AO said: “To be recognised as the greatest ever in your discipline by your world governing body is the ultimate accolade. A great both on and off the field.”

Russell Mark will be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Australian sport’s “Night of Nights” – the 35th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday 10th October at Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.

Established in 1985, The Sport Australia Hall of Fame exists to preserve and celebrate the history of Australian sport and to inspire all Australians to achieve their potential both in sport and life.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame plays a vital role in preserving and perpetuating Australia’s rich sporting heritage, whilst promoting the values of courage, sportsmanship, integrity, mateship, persistence, and excellence, all underpinned by generosity, modesty, pride and ambition.

Along with the seven new inductees, ‘The Don’ Award will be presented to the athlete who has most inspired the nation and the Scholarship and Mentoring program recipients will be awarded. In addition, the 41st Legend of Australian sport will be celebrated.

The 35th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner
Book Now
What: Australia’s most prestigious sporting awards ceremony
Date: Thursday 10th October 2019
Time: From 5:45pm (Media, VIP and Members) and 6:30pm (Guests)
Where: Palladium at Crown, Melbourne
Who: The largest collective gathering of Australian sporting greats and luminaries

Awards:

The Induction of seven new Australian sporting greats into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame
Elevation of one member as the 41st Legend of Australian Sport
Naming of ‘The Don’ Award winner
Presentation to 2020 recipients of the Scholarship and Mentoring Program

Nomination:

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is determined to carry to Australians everywhere the symbol of excellence as represented by its 565 Members across all sports and genders. Membership of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is the crowning achievement of a sporting career and represents the highest level of peer recognition for an individual’s contribution to his or her sport. For more information about criteria and how to nominate click here.

For further information, please contact:
 EVENT ENQUIRIES:
 Tania Sullivan – The Sport Australia Hall of Fame
 T: 03 9510 2066
 E: [email protected]

 MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
 David Culbert – Jump Media & Marketing
 T: 0417 272 641
 E: [email protected]