The New Zealand Olympic Committee today announced a three-strong shooting team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, taking the total number of confirmed athletes in the New Zealand Team to 56.
Returning to New Zealand’s Olympic team for the third time in his career, 36-year-old Ryan Taylor has clinched his spot in the Men’s 50m Prone Rifle event. Joining him in Rio will be South Island-based shooters Natalie Rooney, 28, competing in the Women’s trap, and 24-year-old Chloe Tipple, in the Women’s skeet event.
New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) CEO Kereyn Smith said the inclusion of three shooters for Rio is a great achievement for all athletes and signals a significant step forward for New Zealand in the sport.
"To increase from one shooter in London to three for Rio shows excellent progress has been made by all three athletes in recent years," she said.
“The achievements of Ryan, Natalie and Chloe in gaining these three qualification spots is a direct reflection of the dedication they have shown to their sport and the professional approach they all have taken to achieving Olympic selection."
"We look forward to supporting the athletes in their build up to the Games and cheering them on in Rio this August," said Smith.
New Zealand Shooting Federation (NZSF) Development Manager Gavin Paton is confident the strong form shown by the shooters in recent years across various International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) events can be maintained heading into the Rio Olympic Games.
"The level of commitment required to compete and remain competitive internationally in shooting is no small ask and these three have all shown massive dedication to their sport to achieve selection," he said.
"Drawing on increased exposure to international training and competition opportunities, New Zealand shooters are going from strength to strength."
For Timaru-based Natalie Rooney selection into the Rio team is a hugely rewarding step forward, having narrowly missed out on a place in the London Team. Rooney previously competed at the 2010 Delhi and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games where she placed 5th and 7th (individual and team), and 4th respectively.
"The progress Natalie has shown in the build up to these games is evident in an increased ISSF world ranking from 64th prior to London 2012, to 7th heading into Rio,” said Paton."
Competing in the Women’s Trap 75, Rooney is well positioned to raise the bar for New Zealand shooting at the games.
For Levin’s Ryan Taylor confirmation of a spot in the Rio Team is another chapter in his Olympic story, on the back of appearances in Athens 2004 and London 2012 as well as three Commonwealth Games campaigns.
According to the NZSF, shooting is an 85% mental and 15% ability cohesive sport and with Taylor having competed internationally for eighteen years, his wealth of experience will be crucial as he looks to put in a strong performance in August.
For the third member of the New Zealand Shooting Team, 2016 signals an exciting first step up to Olympic-level competition. At 24, Christchurch’s Chloe Tipple is the young gun in the team, but following a rapid rise through the sport in recent years she has proved herself more than worthy of selection.
Tipple claimed double National titles in 2015, having only started shooting Olympic disciplines in 2011. Since then Chloe has lifted her preparation for Rio to a semi-professional level, training under the watchful eye of internationally renowned skeet coach Georgios Achilleos.
The New Zealand Shooting Federation has backed Chloe for Rio and is confident the Cantabrian has the capability to move on towards future Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
1968 Mexico City Ian Ballinger Smallbore