The New Zealand Olympic Committee together with the NZ Shooting Federation has named an experienced group of 11 shooters to the New Zealand Team for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Among those named to the team are Olympic silver medallist Natalie Rooney, Delhi 2010 gold medallist John Snowden and Glasgow 2014 gold medallist Sally Johnston.
Returning from previous Games campaigns is Ricky Zhao (Glasgow 2014), Myles Browne-Cole (Glasgow 2014, Delhi 2010), Scott Wilson (Manchester 2002), Brian Carter (Melbourne 2006), Ryan Taylor (Athens 2004, Melbourne 2006, Delhi 2010, London 2012, Glasgow 2014, Rio 2016) and Chloe Tipple (Rio 2016).
Janet Hunt and Owen Robinson have also been named and will make their Games debuts at Gold Coast 2018.
Trap shooter Natalie Rooney is looking forward to her third Commonwealth Games campaign.
“It’s pretty exciting, it’s always an awesome achievement to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games. I’ve been working hard towards this and it’ll be great to compete so close to home,” she said.
“I’ve just started back training and I’m definitely finding form. I shot well over the weekend and managed to win the South Island Championships which I was pretty happy with.”
Above: Natalie Rooney
The Rio silver medallist says she’ll face tough competition at Gold Coast 2018.
“Both of the Aussies that were in the final with me in Rio will be there (Catherine Skinner, Laetisha Scanlan). The Commonwealth Games is always going to be tough, there are very good shooters from lots of countries but it’ll be a good challenge.”
Prone rifle shooter Ryan Taylor is returning for his fourth Commonwealth Games and is hoping to gather his first medal.
“My event has been dropped from the Olympic Games so I’ve been training as hard as I can because this may be my last Games campaign,” he said.
“I’ve just finished a lot of trials and I’m going to be training like crazy over the next few months. It’s going to be a great competition.”
Above: Ryan Taylor competing at the Rio Olympic Games
NZ Shooting Federation sport development manager Gavin Paton expects the teams' experience to prove the difference on the Gold Coast.
“This is a strong team so we’re looking forward to positive results. A tough selection process has brought out best shooters,” he said.
“This team has spent a lot of time training and travelling to competitions and World Cups and events to qualify so they should be proud of what they’ve achieved already,” he said.
Above: Athlete Sally Johnston at Glasgow 2014
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the team.
“These athletes have an absolute wealth of Games experience amongst them and are all showing strong form just several months out from the Commonwealth Games," she said.
"They’ve put in a lot of work to gain selection and I look forward to seeing them represent New Zealand on the Gold Coast."
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games shooting will be contested at the Belmont Shooting Centre from April 8th to 14th.
Gold Coast 2018
Above: Owen Robinson competing
Full team + disciplines below:
Ricky Zhao – 50m pistol
Owen Robinson - trap
Myles Browne-Cole - trap
Scott Wilson – double trap
John Snowden – fullbore + fullbore pairs
Brian Carter - fullbore + fullbore pairs
Ryan Taylor – 50m prone rifle
Natalie Rooney - trap
Chloe Tipple - skeet
Sally Johnston – smallbore 50m prone rifle
Janet Hunt - smallbore 50m prone rifle