Globetrotting rifle shooter Heather Thomson has opened this year with a bang, following a successful trip to New Zealand.By Damen Francis
Globetrotting rifle shooter Heather Thomson has opened this year with a bang, following a successful trip to New Zealand.
Thomson was part of the Australian women’s team that took out the Collinson Shield against its trans-Tasman rival and she also pocketed two medals at the Oceania Fullbore Championships.
Not a bad effort given it is the off-season in Australia.
A silver medal in the women’s individual was followed by gold in the pairs to finish an excellent overall trip.
The winning Collinson Shield team was a model of consistency, with three shooters — including Thomson — shooting an overall score of 184, with the fourth shooting 183.
By comparison the New Zealanders’ scores ranged from 186 points to 174.
‘‘We don’t shoot so much in the summer just because it’s too hot, so I wouldn’t normally start until March or April here,’’ Thomson said.
‘‘Given that we had had very little practice, we were pretty pleased with how the team shot.
‘‘It’s just nice to get over there and catch up with people that you haven’t seen for a while, we know all the New Zealand ladies quite well and it’s always good to shoot for your country.’’
A long-serving member of Karramomus Rifle Club, Thomson is somewhat of a veteran on the international shooting scene.
That experience proved crucial in the individual events of the Oceania Fullbore Championships.
‘‘Once you have the technique, it’s mostly mental,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s wind reading ability (and) reading the conditions, we shoot from 300 yards back to 1000, so obviously the wind and sometimes the rain have a bearing on what happens.
‘‘We lost some of the Oceania ranges because of rain, we only shot two ranges, when it should have been four.’’
Thomson did not fare quite so well in the battle for the Ballinger Belt in the New Zealand National Rifle Association Championship, finishing 50th overall.
The next stop is South Africa in April, to contest the Tri Nations in Bloemfontein.
It is a trip Thomson has made before, but this time will be more authentic and the aim is simply to do better than last time.
‘‘It was technically the tri-nations, but the New Zealanders didn’t go, this time the New Zealanders are going and they will have a very good team, as do the South Africans,’’ she said.
‘‘Last time we went all right, but the South Africans shot very well and beat us, so we need to pick our socks up a little bit over there.’’
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