Delhi gold medallists Mike Collings and John Snowden have been selected for the New Zealand Commonwealth Games as part of a nine-strong team for Glasgow 2014.
Competing in the full-bore rifle, the pair is aiming for another medal performance, but say competition will be tough.
“Just 22 countries progress through a stringent qualification process to earn a spot at Glasgow and it is much tougher than earning a spot at the World Championships,” said Collings who will compete as an individual as well as alongside Snowden in the pairs, “We have performed exceptionally well in the past and are now focused not just on our individual performance, but on how we work together in competition.
Like many amateur athletes, Collings maintains a part-time job as a fitter to fund his training and competition programme. “Training is a challenge with work commitments but this is a pinnacle event for us and we’re aiming for a medal.”
Collings and Snowden will include Australian and UK-based events in their Glasgow build-up.
Also being named to the team today is 21-year old Jenna McKenzie from Lumsden who will become the first New Zealander to shoot in all three small bore rifle events at an elite competition.
With three disciplines to prepare for, McKenzie says her training programme is varied. “Indoor air rifle is very precise with fractions being the difference between winning and losing. On the outdoor range we’re also taking into account wind speed, direction and also lighting.”
McKenzie says her preferred discipline is the 3P (three positions) which she describes as dynamic and exciting.
Gavin Paton sport development manager for Shooting New Zealand says the team overall has considerable experience. “We have asked the athletes to meet tough selection criteria and the result is a strong team. I’d like to congratulate them all on their selection,” he said.
“Overall there is a depth of experience with the bulk of the team competing at their second or third Commonwealth Games. We’ve also got a good mix of young athletes, including Jenna and Natalie, alongside the older hands in Mike and John.”
Just Ricky Zhao and Jenna McKenzie will be competing at their first Commonwealth Games this July.
Shooting is one of New Zealand’s most medalled Commonwealth Games sports with 51 medals won since the first in 1966. Athletics has won the Commonwealth Games medals for New Zealand (151) with Cycling (86) and Swimming (77).
Shooting Team for Glasgow 2014
John Snowden – Men’s Full-Bore and Full-Bore Pairs Rifle
Mike Collings – Men’s Full-Bore and Full-Bore Pairs Rifle
Natalie Rooney – Clay Target – Women’s Trap
Myles Browne-Cole – Clay Target – Men’s Trap
Ricky Zhao – Men’s 50m Pistol
Jenna MacKenzie – Smallbore Rifle – Women’s 10m Air Rifle, Women’s Prone Rifle and Women’s 3P
Sally Johnston – Smallbore Rifle – Women’s Prone Rifle
Martin Hunt – Smallbore Rifle – Men’s Prone Rifle
Ryan Taylor – Smallbore Rifle – Men’s Prone Rifle