Queensland’s Paul Adams is used to pressure as a surgical theatre nurse, and he held a steady hand to complete a clean sweep of the first two men’s skeet Olympic qualifying events at the Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club today.

After winning the Commonwealth title earlier in the week, Adams continued his excellent form when clinching victory in the National final today.

Adams, who attended the 2016 Rio Olympics, stamped his authority from the outset and hit 53 of 60 targets to defeat Victoria’s Luke Argiro (48 targets) with NSW’s Joshua Bell (41 targets) placed third.

Adams’ victory today completed a hat-trick of major titles having won the Oceania title last November.

With two of the four Olympic skeet qualifying events completed, Adams has amassed 246 points to take a healthy nine point lead over Bell (238 points), with Argiro (237) and NSW’s Frank Morris (237) in equal third positson.

“It’s been a fantastic week and I’m very pleased to have completed my first ever clean sweep,” said Adams.

“It’s great to have opened up an eight point lead for Olympic selection. As soon as I fired my last shot in Rio, I wanted to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

“This week has been an important part of the process for Tokyo selection and I will rest up and prepare for the next qualifying event next month,” he added.

In the women’s National final, Victoria’s Aislin Jones bounced back after winning the Commonwealth title silver medal earlier in the week to shoot three perfect rounds when snaring the gold ahead of rival, Laura Coles from Western Australia.

Jones, who won selection at the 2016 Rio Olympics as a 16-year old, set a high standard when qualifying as the top ranked shooter and she maintained her world class performance in the final.

Jones, who is coached by Olympian Lauryn Mark, downed 55 of 60 targets to comfortably defeat Coles (50 targets) with New Zealand’s Oceania champion, Chloe Tipple (41 targets), taking home the bronze medal.

In the battle for Olympic selection, Coles (234 points) and Jones (231 points) are set for a nail-biting tussle for the single women’s skeet Australian team berth, with Queensland’s Cherie Reeves (220 points) trailing well behind.

“It was a good final. The light rain made the conditions interesting and I was very happy to come away with the win,” said Jones.

The skeet shooters will enjoy a month’s break before contesting the next Olympic Games qualifying event at the Yarra Valley Grand Prix held at the Melbourne Gun Club commencing on February 27.

Men’s trap shooting world champion, James Willett, was forced to dig deep and overcome a slow start to capture the Commonwealth Championship gold medal at the Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club today.

Willett, from NSW, faced stern competition from an unlikely source when he trailed Victorian Vinnie Mollica by three shots after the opening 25 targets before finding his rhythm and displaying his class to peel off 25 perfect scores to clinch a solid victory.

Willett, who reached the Olympic men’s trap final at the 2016 Rio Games, eventually claimed 46 of 50 targets in winning the gold medal ahead of Mollica (43 targets) with Victoria’s Mitch Iles (34 targets) placed third.

Although he impressed with an excellent display, Mollica’s past performances failed to earn him selection on Australian teams where he could register a Minimum Qualification Score at international events and be considered for Tokyo Olympic Games selection.

In winning the event, Willett earned six bonus points in addition to the 121 points scored in the five qualifying rounds of 25 shots and has opened a healthy seven point lead over Iles in the race to win automatic Olympic team selection.

“It was a good final and a nice way to start the year. Vinnie kept the pressure on me, and I was forced to claw my way back,” said Willett.

“I was aware of the scores and I knew what I had to do, and I was very pleased to shoot 25 out of 25 at the back end,” he added.

“The winds were tricky and it became darker which made conditions difficult,” he added.

Earlier, Willett’s Rio Olympic Games team-mate, Laetisha Scanlan, performed brilliantly in winning the Commonwealth Championship women’s trap final.

Scanlan (47 targets) performed outstandingly in blustery conditions only missing three targets to comfortably defeat fellow Victorians Penny Smith (40 targets) and 2016 Rio Olympic Games gold medallist, Catherine Skinner (29 targets).

Scanlan, a triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist, set a commanding standard downing the first 17 targets before recording her first miss with her 18th shot.

After two further mid-round misses, Scanlan was then faultless with her final 20 targets.

“The conditions were tough and it’s not an easy range to shoot at. I knew that coming into the competition and I wanted to get out early with a lead and I was very happy to get the win,” she said.

“It’s always great to get a win at the first event of the year. With the Christmas and New Year holiday period, I was strategic with a plan to come and shoot well and I managed to pull it off today,” she added.

Scanlan qualified for the final one point behind Smith and, after gaining final bonus points, they jointly top the women’s trap Olympic selection table each with 121 points with Skinner in third place on 117 points.

Australia has gained two Tokyo Olympic Games quota positions in both the men’s and women’s trap and the shooting athletes will contest the National Championship later this week.

Western Australia’s Laura Coles gained revenge when edging aside New Zealand’s Chloe Tipple to capture the Women’s Commonwealth Skeet title at Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club today.

Tipple won the Oceania Championship Women’s Skeet gold medal in Sydney last November in a dominant display, but it was Coles who starred today to capture the gold medal and put herself in a strong position to clinch Australian Olympic Games team selection in March.

Coles, a two-time Commonwealth Games representative who won gold at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, hit 52 of 60 targets ahead of Tipple (48 targets) with 2016 Australian Olympian Aislin Jones (39 targets) in third place.

Coles said her victory vindicated technical changes she made last year.

“I changed equipment with a new gun and have changed my mount position. I tended to become more upright when under pressure, so it was great to have success today,” said Coles.

“I stuck to my processes and the results followed,” she added.

In the Men’s Skeet Commonwealth Final, Queensland’s Paul Adams overcame an inconsistent qualifying performance to take the gold medal.

Adams was ranked fourth coming into the final and took command from the outset hitting 57 of 60 targets to defeat Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club member Frank Morris (52 targets) with Victoria’s James Bolding (42 targets) placed third.

The biggest surprise of the final was the elimination of top qualifier Luke Argiro after the first round.

Adams’ performance, which saw him score two perfect rounds of 10, saw him maintain his great form after winning the Oceania Championship last year.

“My qualifying rounds were quite poor, and I needed to pull my finger out in the final,” admitted Adams.

“It’s nice to get back to back victories after winning the Oceania title, but it is still very early days as far as Olympic selection is concerned,” he added.

There is no rest for the Australian Men’s and Women’s Skeet Shooters as they commence qualification for the National Championship tomorrow.

In the first round of qualification in the Men’s Trap, 2016 Rio Olympian James Willett from NSW signalled his intentions scoring 72 out of 75 targets including a perfect opening round of 25.

Rio 2016 gold medallist, Victoria’s Catherine Skinner, also showed she is in fine form scoring 71 targets to be the top ranked Women’s Trap shooter after day one ahead of fellow Victorians Laetisha Scanlan and Penny Smith (both 69).

The Men’s and Women’s Trap shooting athletes will contest two further rounds of 25 targets tomorrow before the top six athletes qualify for the final tomorrow afternoon.

Victoria’s Luke Argiro and NSW’s Joshua Bell both shot a perfect round to set the standard in the Men’s Skeet at the Commonwealth Championships at Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club today.

The Championship is the first of four events to determine selection for the Australian shooting team to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Argiro, 23, commenced the Men’s Skeet in brilliant fashion downing all 25 targets in the first of three rounds, while Bell ended the day on a perfect note with a maximum score.

It was a great comeback by Bell who completed only 20 targets in the opening round before recovering to miss only one target in the second round, and then ended with a perfect round.

“It was a good way to drag myself out of a hole. It certainly has put me in a better mindset for the rounds tomorrow,” said Bell.

Argiro hit 23 of 25 targets in both the second and third rounds to take a two shot lead going into the final two qualifying rounds tomorrow.

Argiro, who represented Australia in five international events last year and won a bronze medal in the World Cup event in the UAE, was unaware that he was leading the Men’s Skeet after the first day as he religiously does not monitor scores when in competition.

“I’ve never looked at the scores to see where I’m placed. I just focus on the next shot,” he said.

“But it was a nice start, but I always like to do better. There is still more to come,” he added.

2019 Oceania Championship gold medallist, Paul Adams from Queensland, also shot consistently with two scores of 24 in the second and third rounds to be placed equal second on 69 points with Bell.

The performances of Argiro, Bell and Adams have placed pressure on dual Olympian Keith Ferguson from Victoria.

The 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympian finished the day in seventh position on 65 points.

“You can never write off Keith. He is very well equipped and is likely to go out and shoot all 50 targets tomorrow,” said Bell.

The top six shooters at the completion of tomorrow’s two qualifying rounds will progress to the final tomorrow afternoon.

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Lauren Coles, ended the Women’s Skeet first day of competition locked with New Zealand Olympian Chloe Tipple on 68 points.

The next best Australian is Queensland’s Cherie Reeves who finished strongly with two rounds of 24 to finish on 65 points ahead of 2016 Rio Olympian Aislin Jones (63 points).

Reeves is trying to emulate the feats of her mother, 2002 Commonwealth Games Women’s Trap Pairs gold medallist Diane Reeves, and win Australian section for a Games.

The top six Men’s scores after Day 1 are: Luke Argiro (Vic) 71; Joshua Bell (NSW) 69; Paul Adams (Qld) 69; Elie Lahoud (WA) 69; Frank Morris (NSW) 68; James Bolding (Vic) 67.

The top six Women’s scores after Day 1 are: Lauren Coles (WA) 68, Chloe Tipple (NZ) 68; Cherie Reeves (Qld) 65; Aislin Jones (Vic) 63; Brittany Melbourne (Vic) 61, Bridgette McKinnon (SA) 47.

Further information;

Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications

Ph: 0418 239 139

E: [email protected]

The journey to Australian team selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games commences when over 30 of Australia’s best men’s and women’s trap and skeet shooters contest the Commonwealth and National Championships at the Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club between January 13 and 18.

The Championships are two of four events for shotgun shooting athletes to win Olympic team selection.

Pistol and rifle athletes will each contest separate Olympic selection events in February and March before the Australian Olympic shooting team is announced in late March.

Following international competitions in 2018 and 2019, 25 trap and 11 skeet athletes registered Minimum Qualification Scores (MQS), which confirm their eligibility for Tokyo Olympic Games selection.

Among the trap athletes competing at the Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club are 2016 Rio Olympic Games women’s gold medallist, Catherine Skinner (Vic), and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Laetisha Scanlan (Vic).

Men’s trap shooters Adam Vella (Vic), James Willett (NSW) and 2019 Oceania Championship gold medallist Mitchell Iles (Vic) are seeking back-to-back Olympic team selection as is women’s skeet shooter Aislin Jones (Vic) and 2019 Oceania Championship skeet gold medallist Paul Adams (Qld) and Keith Ferguson (Vic).

“We are very fortunate to have an immense pool of talented trap and skeet shooters who have all registered MQS’s. And, they’re going to need to bring their best individual performances to gain Olympic team selection over the next three months,” explained Shooting Australian National High Performance Director, Adam Sachs.

“Australia has won 15 Tokyo Olympic Games quota positions across all shooting disciplines, and six of these will be filled by men’s and women’s trap and skeet athletes. We will also field two teams in the trap mixed team’s event from the individual trap athletes selected to our Olympic team,” said Sachs.

In the men’s events, skeet shooter Luke Argiro (Vic) and younger brother, trap shooter Nathan Argiro, will be vying for selection, while skeet shooter Aislin Jones and younger sister trap shooter Renae Jones will also be looking to make it an Olympic family affair.

In the women’s skeet event, Brittany Melbourne (Vic) will be looking to emulate twin sister, Ellie Cole, who has won six Paralympic Games gold medals in swimming at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games and who is looking to add to her haul at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Shotgun athletes with MQS’s who are eligible to compete for Olympic selection at the Commonwealth and National Championships are;

Men’s Skeet: Paul Adams (Qld), Luke Argiro (Vic), Joshua Bell (NSW), James Bolding (Vic), Keith Ferguson (Vic), Frank Morris (NSW).

Women’s Skeet: Laura Coles (WA), Aislin Jones (Vic), Bridgette McKinnon (SA), Brittany Melbourne (Vic), Cherie Reeves (Qld).

Men’s Trap: Nathan Argiro (Vic), Thomas Armstrong (Vic), Adam Bylsma (Qld), Michael Coles (NSW), Daniel Di Pietro (Vic), Thomas Grice (NSW), Craig Henwood (Vic), Mitchell Iles (Vic), Todd Malone (Vic), Matthew Schiller (NSW), Adam Vella (Vic), Jack Wallace (Vic), James Willett (NSW).

Women’s Trap: Breanna Collins (Qld), Kiara Dean (Vic), Charlie Hudson-Czerniecki (Vic), Renae Jones (Vic), Antonia Loizos (SA), Stephanie Pile (Qld), Georgia Pistone (Vic), Alexis Preston (Vic), Laetisha Scanlan (Vic), Catherine Skinner (Vic), Penny Smith (Vic), Lisa Smith (SA).

Further information: Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications, PH: 0418 239 139

Congratulations to Shooting great Libby Kosmala who has been inducted into the SA Sport Hall of Fame after winning 13 medals at 12 Paralympic Games.

Libby Kosmala was a reluctant participant the first time she was handed a rifle at a shooting range.

The SA Paralympic great was secretary of the Wheelchair Sports Association of SA in 1973, when she and president Kevin Bawden were invited to Dry Creek to try the sport.

But Kosmala, a swimmer at the time, was far from excited by the prospect, just three years out from winning the first of her nine shooting gold medals.

“I said to Kevin, ‘I know I’m secretary, but I don’t really want to start shooting, I’m not interested at all’,” Kosmala, now 77, recalled.

“He said ‘well we better go and have a look just to see what it’s all about’.

“So they gave me a rifle, they loaded it and gave me a target 20m away.

Paralympic great Libby Kosmala is set to be inducted into the SA Sport Hall of Fame. Picture: Sarah Reed
Paralympic great Libby Kosmala is set to be inducted into the SA Sport Hall of Fame. Picture: Sarah Reed

“I said ‘where’s the trigger and how do I hold the rifle?’

“But my first shot went straight through the middle of the target.

“When you keep winning with something, I suppose you stay with it.”

The unlikely introduction began a love affair with shooting, as Kosmala claimed glory at the 1976 Toronto Games and shone at another 10 Paralympics.

Her glittering career would be recognised when she was inducted into the SA Sport Hall of Fame at Adelaide Oval on November 22.

Out to celebrate the amazing Libby Kosmala former Shooting Australia CEOs from left Damien Marangon and Nick Sullivan and current CEO Luke Van Kempen
Out to celebrate the amazing Libby Kosmala former Shooting Australia CEOs from left Damien Marangon and Nick Sullivan and current CEO Luke Van Kempen

“It’s a very great honour,” said wheelchair-bound Kosmala, who also competed in archery, fencing and athletics on the international stage.

“It’s quite unbelievable and I was a bit stunned initially.

“The Paralympic movement has changed a lot in the 50 years that I’ve been involved.

Libby Kosmala at the welcome home reception following the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Picture: Tom Huntley
Libby Kosmala at the welcome home reception following the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Picture: Tom Huntley
SA Paralympian Libby Kosmala preparing to be the Australian flag bearer at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Picture: Mead Leon
SA Paralympian Libby Kosmala preparing to be the Australian flag bearer at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Picture: Mead Leon

“I’m really thrilled and delighted to represent it in the hall of fame.”

Kosmala’s Paralympic journey began in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1972, when she grabbed bronze swimming the backstroke leg of the 3 x 50m medley relay.

But she attended her first Games four years earlier, as secretary for the Australian team in Tel Aviv after missing selection.

“There were four South Australians … and they were all my great friends,” Kosmala, of Klemzig, said.

“When I wasn’t chosen to swim, they said ‘why don’t you pay your own way and come with us Libby’, so that’s what I did.

“I only had to do very little really, so I had lots of spare time to watch all our Australians competing and it was fantastic.

Libby Kosmala training for the 2004 Paralympics at the Sydney International Shooting Centre.
Libby Kosmala training for the 2004 Paralympics at the Sydney International Shooting Centre.

“After that I thought ‘next time, I’ll be in that team competing’.”

Kosmala remembered small crowds and basic facilities in Israel, including an outdoor basketball court and temporary accommodation blocks for the 750 athletes.

It was in stark contrast to her last Paralympic appearance as the oldest competitor at Rio 2016, when she was among 4342 participants from 159 nations.

But the grandmother of three had no plans to push for Tokyo selection next year, instead focusing her efforts on coaching the next generation of talents at Wingfield Rifle Club.

“I’ve done my dash,” said Kosmala, who still shoots in occasional local competitions.

“Now I want to get the young ones up to a level so they can compete for Australia.

“That’s my ambition and my aim.”

The original article can be read here

SHOOTING AUSTRALIA: OSF Championships. November 3, 2019. Sydney, Sydney International Shooting Centre, NSW, Australia. Photo: Narelle Spangher; Shooting Australia

Australia claimed three Tokyo Olympic Games shooting athlete quota positions when South Australian teenagers Alex Hoberg and Tori Rossiter and Victoria’s Elena Galiabovitch won Oceania Championship titles at the Sydney International Shooting Centre today.

The trio took giant steps towards fulfilling their Tokyo Games selection ambitions when winning the respective 10m Men’s and Women’s Air Rifle finals and the women’s 25m Women’s Pistol with Minimum Qualification Scores (MQS).

Coming into the Men’s 10m Air Rifle final ranked third, Hoberg displayed nerves of steel to claim an Oceania Junior record to narrowly defeat fellow South Australian Jack Rossiter by 1.1 points.

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Dane Sampson rounded off an all-South Australian podium when taking the bronze medal ahead of the New Zealand trio of Owen Bennett, Adrian Black and Shaun Jeffery.

Hoberg, 17, has been identified a rising shooting athlete since winning selection for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where he was deprived of a medal after losing a shoot-off to India’s Ravi Kumar to be placed fourth.

The Wingfield Rifle Club shooter represented Australia at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Rio where he again narrowly missed a medal when placed fifth in the 10m Air Rifle.

Hoberg said he came into the Championship relaxed and confident of winning and claiming a Tokyo quota position for Australia.

“I had been shooting well in training, but I think I tried too hard in the qualification round. I kept telling myself that I could win and just do what I’ve been doing in training,” he said.

“Once I got into the lead after the first round in the final, my confidence rose and I managed to lead all the way,” he added.

“It’s a great relief to get a quota and I can now go into the 50m Three Position Rifle event on Thursday without any pressure,” he added.

Rossiter, 17, overcame a nervous start to overhaul Victoria’s Elise Collier and South Australia’s Emma Adams in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle . Her winning score was also a Oceania Senior and Junior record.

Rossiter managed 49.9 points after the first round and trailed Adams by 2.7 points.

“I realised I needed to pull my finger out, but I knew there was enough time to catch up. I knew if I could shoot at my best, that I could manage to win,” said Rossiter.

Like Hoberg, Rossiter represented Australia at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the Rio Youth Olympics, where she finished fourth.

Rossiter’s next immediate priority are her Year 12 exams which begins at Adelaide’s Woodcroft College on Tuesday.

Galiabovitch appears destined for her second successive Olympic Games when comfortably winning the Women’s 25m Pistol final in another all-Australian medal clean sweep.

South Australia’s Alison Heinrich captured the silver medal after surviving a shoot-off with Queensland’s Civon Smith.

Galiabovitch, a Melbourne doctor, entered the final as the hot favourite and provided the best medicine from the outset with a perfect five from five shots in the opening round and was never headed.

“I happy with achieving a quota position – that was the goal. I tried to not fixate about getting the quota as it can become distracting. I just tried to focus on myself,” said Galiabovitch.

“I didn’t shoot as well as I had hoped, but I got the job done and, importantly, we got the quota position for Tokyo.” she added.

Tomorrow will see the the Men’s and Women’s Skeet finals plus the Men’s 10m Air Pistol.

The Oceania Championships will run from 1 – 9 November at the Sydney International Shooting Centre in Cecil Park NSW. More information is available on the event website. Shooting Australia Facebook  and  Twitter  pages.

Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications

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