Olympics podium finish in sights

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Four years after missing out on selection for the London Olympics, Waimate trap shooter Natalie Rooney is aiming for a podium finish in Rio in August.
Four years after missing out on selection for the London Olympics, Waimate trap shooter Natalie Rooney is aiming for a podium finish in Rio in August.

Four years after missing out on selection for the London Olympics, Waimate trap shooter Natalie Rooney is aiming for a podium finish in Rio in August.
The 27-year-old is ranked seventh in the world, and has a real chance of a medal at this year’s Olympics.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee rubber-stamped her spot recently after she gained a quota spot at the Oceania shooting championships in Sydney late last year.
Having already shot the required qualifying scores on more than one occasion, it was inevitable Rooney would make her Olympic debut in Rio.
She said she was delighted to have been given the nod, and looked forward to starting her campaign.
“Obviously, I was very excited. I had been working really hard to get myself ready with a bit of training and competitions.”Rooney, who has been involved with the sport since she was 13, will be based in Europe before the Olympics, under the watchful eye of her Italy-based coach.
“I’m heading away to Italy in three weeks and I will be staying there until the Olympics. I also have a world cup meet in San Marino in June, and there are also a few other competitions in Italy I will be in,” Rooney said.
Rooney is aiming for a top-six finish in the preliminary stage at the Games, which will be good enough for her to contest the final. However, she will be disappointed if she doesn’t come away from Rio with a medal.
“Obviously, I want to be in the top three and on that podium. I know I can achieve that, but it’s about who performs on the day, really.
“Representing New Zealand at the highest level I can is special. The Olympics is the ultimate goal for any athlete that has a sport in the Olympics. Being in that atmosphere is going to be awesome.”While she was frustrated after being overlooked for the 2012 Olympics _ the New Zealand Shooting Federation nominated her but ended up going with prone rifle shooter Ryan Taylor after he won an appeal with the Sports Tribunal _ Rooney is now in a good space after the controversy, which she described as “unfortunate”.
She has plenty of local support and would like nothing more than to pay back that support in Rio.
“The kind of support people have given me is incredible. It’s a pretty tight-knit community and they always get behind their athletes, which is awesome.”