Australian Rifle athlete, Tori Rossiter, has seen more of the world over the past five years than many people experience in a lifetime. Now the world is taking notice of Rossiter.
Since travelling to Suhl in Germany and Gabala in Azerbaijan for junior World Cup competitions in 2016, the 19-year old Rossiter has competed in Korea, China, India, Austria, and Argentina plus numerous trips to various Australian capital cities.
And that tally would have been higher if it wasn’t for global and domestic travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the pandemic has severely interrupted training and competition plans over the past 12-months, Rossiter has diligently toiled away under National Rifle Coach, Petr Kurka, either dry firing with brother Jack in the hallway at their Adelaide family home or practicing at the Wingfield Rifle Range.
And all the hard work is paying off.
During the Adelaide Grand Prix late last month, Rossiter surpassed the junior 10m Air Rifle final world record when winning the event gold medal.
Competing in the mixed gender open final against Tokyo Olympic team members, Dane Sampson, Katarina Kowplos and her older brother Jack, Tori (252.6 points) topped the previous women’s junior 10m Air Rifle final world record set in 2019 by India’s Shreya Argawal by a mere 0.1 point.
And Rossiter can thank a perfect final shot of 10.9 to surpass Argawal’s score and defeat brother Jack for the gold medal. However, Rossiter’s score is not an official world record as the Grand Prix was not an International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) accredited competition but instead an Australian Junior record.
Rossiter’s score would also have been good enough to win the 2018 ISSF World Championship 10m Air Rifle final where Korea’s Ha-na Im was victorious with a score of 251.1.
“I am really happy with how I performed, and it is a great reward for all the recent training and training camps we’ve had,” she said.
“Qualification wasn’t good for me, but I was really happy with the final. It was good that I could change my mentality from the match going into the final because you have to try and not bring the bad stuff, or the stuff that you were a little disappointed about with you. It all goes back to zero in the Final.”
Rossiter’s performance last month doesn’t come as a complete surprise within the tight-knit Australian Rifle community.
Her technique and strong basics have earmarked her for a bright future ever since she followed brother Jack and her best friend, 2018 Australian Commonwealth Games Shooting team member, Emma Adams, to the range.
After competing in Junior World Cup events in 2016 and the World Junior Championships in 2017, Rossiter was the youngest Australian Shooting team member at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Competing in the women’s 10m Air Rifle, Rossiter was ranked third after the qualification round and finished seventh in the Final.
“Gold Coast was really, really great. It was a huge learning experience. Because it was in Australia, it was like home turf and so much fun,” said Rossiter.
“It was a bit daunting being around everybody that was older. I was struggling a bit with not feeling like I should be there.
“But it was great to have Emma (Adams) and Dane (Sampson) with me. Emma and I were rooming together which was good. I just tried to do my best,” she added.
Following the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Rossiter headed to the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires where she reached the 10m Air Rifle final and finished eighth.
Rossiter also enjoys support from the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) and finds the cohort of SASI athletes beneficial and has formed strong friendships with other athletes.
“SASI is really good. It’s not only the facilities, but it’s super close to Wingfield,” said Rossiter.
“We do gym there and it’s good to talk and make friends with other athletes from other sports as well. I think we all have stuff we can give each other even if some sports aren’t anything alike.
“It’s good to have another person from a different sport to talk to. Sometimes you just want someone to listen to. It’s like a board. They have a different perspective because they don’t do Shooting,” she said.
During this year’s National Performance Series, Rossiter will be competing in mixed gender Rifle events on the same line alongside Sampson, brother Jack and other male competitors.
“It’s definitely beneficial for people at a higher level like Dane, Jack and I. We can be in the same event together and push each other in the qualification and the final. It’s also really beneficial for the juniors because now there is more people doing the qualification,” she said.
Away from Shooting, Rossiter is studying Speech Pathology at Flinders University and tutoring high school students in Maths and English.
“Speech Pathology is a much bigger field than what I realised when I first started,” she said.
While Rossiter missed selection for the Tokyo Olympic Games, she is eyeing Australian team selection for this year’s World Junior Shooting Championships in September and October and the Oceania Championships in November.
And if successful, Rossiter will be collecting further immigration arrival stamps in her passport.
“I like experiencing different cultures. I’m missing travelling a lot at the moment. It feels like forever since I’ve last been somewhere but, in fact, it was this time last year. But I’m hoping we can get around a little bit, maybe by the end of the year for some comps,” she said.
And they will be further opportunities for Rossiter to enhance her growing international Shooting reputation.