Australia’s Team of 9 Junior athletes have arrived home after travelling to Changwon, Korea to compete in the 2023 Junior World Championships in some very warm and humid conditions
Attending her first international competition, Talia Woodroffe embraced the learning opportunity through competing against the best junior athletes from other countries. “It was a good experience. It has been a lot of fun while gaining international experience in a different kind of environment.”
Woodroffe competed in Junior Women’s 10m Air and 25m Pistol, finishing 60th (532) and 46th (538), respectively. She was joined in Changwon by her personal coach, Les Moncreif, and an Aussie cheer squad that included her brother and grandparents.
Our Junior Shotgun team, made up of Molly Bretag, Marco Corbo, Breanna Collins, Kiara Dean, William Freni-Lizzi, Lucas Furlan, Renae Jones and Ollie Zielezna, competed in the Women’s and Men’s Trap event, with some pairing up for the Trap Mixed Team event.
Competing over three days of qualification in the individual events, our trap athletes returned mixed results as they acclimatised to the tough weather conditions, with some experiencing equipment challenges. Accompanying the team as a support coach, Deserie Baynes says “one of the biggest challenges faced by the athletes was adjusting to the change in weather conditions in Changwon compared to the extreme cold that we left behind in Australia. It was extremely hot with in excess of 80% humidity and then there were sudden downpours.”
Of her time with the team in Changwon, Shotgun National Talent Coach Renae Birgan says “It was a great experience. The team all did so well and in particular when challenges presented themselves. They will each take the lessons and experience gained from this competition to make them stronger competitors down the track. We have some unbelievable future talent.”
In the Women’s Trap event, Molly Bretag shot a qualification score of 111 out of 125 targets, qualifying in second place and securing a spot in the final. Molly went on to finish 4th in the final with a score of 28 out of 35 targets. Now having returned to her hometown in Pompoota in South Australia, Molly reflects, “I really enjoyed the whole experience at my second Junior World Championships. I tried to not set any expectations, but I was ecstatic to make my first international final after shooting consistently. Finishing in 4th place was bittersweet but I am so happy, and the experience gained is so valuable.” Of her preparation leading into and during the Championships, Molly says, “my opportunity to compete in Changwon would not have been possible without the support of my parents and my personal Coach Craig Bentley, as well as the amazing contribution from the support coaches in Changwon, Renae Birgan and Deserie Baynes.”
Also competing in the Women’s Trap event, Collins shot 106 out of 125 to finish in 13th place, Dean 104 to finish 16th and Jones 95 to finish 25th. The Women’s Trap Team event saw Australia finish in 5th place with a combined score of 310 out of 375 from Bretag, Dean and Jones.
In the Men’s Trap event, Corbo shot a qualifying score of 116 out of 125 to finish in 12th place, Freni-Lizzi 114 to finish 15th, and in their first international ISSF competition, Furlan and Zielezna 106 out of 125 to finish 33rd and 35th respectively. In the Men’s Trap Team event, Corbo, Freni-Lizzi and Furlan shot a combined score of 336 out of 375 to finish in 5th place.
Following the individual competition, Corbo and Bretag, and Freni-Lizzi and Dean paired up for the Mixed Teams competition, scoring 132/150 to place 8th and 129/150 to place 10th, respectively.
Shooting Australia is incredibly proud of the Junior Team for their achievements in Changwon. Thank you to the staff that supported the athletes leading into, and during competition, as they continue to develop their skills and performances. We look forward to what the next 9 years will bring as we plan towards the home Brisbane 2032 Olympics.