Off the back of some impressive results at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, rifle shooters Victoria Rossiter and Alex Hoburg have been selected to represent Australia at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG).
Following in the footsteps of her brother, Rio Olympian and rifle shooter Jack Rossiter, Victoria took out seventh place at this year’s Commonwealth Games Women’s 10m Air Rifle finals and at just 16 years-old, she was the only Australian female to make an appearance in that final.
Seventeen-year-old Hoburg paints a similar picture, just missing out on a medal with fourth place in the Commonwealth Games Men’s 10m Air Rifle finals and finishing just three places behind fellow Aussie and two-time Olympian, Dane Sampson.
The youngest of the group, 15-year-old Olivia Erickson also joins the YOG Team as the sole representative for Australia in pistol shooting.
Boasting several Junior National Championship titles along with the 2017 Oceania Junior Championship crown, Erickson bolsters Australia’s YOG shooting squad.
For these youngsters to qualify for YOG, they had to participate in three qualifying competitions, and a nomination decision was made by Shooting Australia based on their combined scores along with other attributes.
Victoria Rossiter explained the most challenging part of her qualifying process was when she competed in two competitions in the space of a few hours.
“For us to qualify for YOG, we had to participate in two qualification competitions on the same day,” she said.
“In the morning, we had the first 60 shot match and later that afternoon we had the second one.
“This required some extra preparation for me because shooters are usually not required to shoot that amount of focused, hard competition shots in such a short amount of time.”
But for Rossiter, the sacrifice has been worth it.
“I have always loved the sport, and it’s something that I’m really passionate about.
“I think that in order to get to the highest level of your sport you have to love what you do and be willing to make sacrifices.
“There was no moment where I thought I couldn’t pursue shooting professionally, as long as I love what I do, I’ll keep working hard to be the best I can be,” she said.
Alex Hoburg shares a similar passion to his teammate.
“Making the Australian Team has been my biggest motivation for the last few years. Ever since I started shooting at 13, my goal was to make the Youth Olympics,” he said.
But Hoburg’s dreams of representing Australia at YOG were almost dashed before they had been realised.
“My first reaction when I found out that I made the Australian Team for YOG was a sigh of relief! I was so unsure if I would actually be selected,” he said.
“Even though our sport won three quota places, we were stripped of one for a period of time which meant that one of the three selected athletes wasn’t going to make the team. Thankfully that didn’t happen!”
Shooting may seem like a left-of-field sporting choice, but for all three shooters spending quality time with family has been what lead them down a sporting path historically less travelled by the youth of today.
Rossiter credits her brother Jack with igniting her interest in pursuing pistol shooting professionally.
“My brother started pistol shooting when he was young,” the Onkarparinga Hills local said.
“I would come along to the range with my father and Jack after school, so I thought I might try it, seeing as I was there!
“Ever since it has been a sport both my brother and I love to do together, and he is my inspiration,” she said.
For Hoburg, it was doing archery with his Dad which eventually lead to his transition to rifle shooting.
“Dad and I did archery for a number of years before I started rifle shooting.”
“At the range, another shooter asked dad if I was interested in trying target air rifle. I jumped at the suggestion and after a few visits to the range I showed a little bit of natural aptitude. I loved it and decided to pursue rifle shooting as a sport,” Hoburg said.
Erickson pursued pistol shooting after initially picking it up as a way to bond with her father.
“My father got me into pistol shooting, he wanted to be part of a club and thought it would be a great idea for us to spend time together, but once I started to compete with other shooters it motivated me to want to improve and become more serious,” the Greta NSW local said.
“The first time I went overseas to compete in the Junior World Championships, I came 17th in my other discipline. I remember thinking that with more experience and a bit more training I could take this further than just a past-time.”
You can see Victoria, Alex and Olivia compete at Buenos Aires between 6-18 October 2018.
Learn more about them and other YOG athletes HERE