Proud Southlander beats the odds to win gold

17:00, Aug 08 2014
Sally Johnston
GOLDEN GUN: Southlander Sally Johnston arrives back in New Zealand after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Gold-medallist shooter Sally Johnston is happy to be home, but it would be better if she had her rifle.

En route to her fourth Commonwealth Games, crucial gear went missing.

The Hutt Valley shooter, born and raised in Invercargill, took it in her stride, going on to win gold in the women's 50m prone rifle.

With last-minute replacement bolt and rifle, the Kiwi also set a new tournament record with 620.7 points, winning by just 0.6 points.

"It was awesome when everything came together on the day. It was like, just get on and find plans B, C, D, and E. I think it was plan E that eventually worked."

She made an unassuming entrance at Wellington airport yesterday afternoon. It was only after she pulled out the shiny disc that strangers started staring.

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Parents Ken and Jenny Johnston travelled to Glasgow to watch their daughter compete.

They consider themselves good-luck charms - the two times they've seen her perform at the Games, she has won a medal. Sixteen years ago, Johnston won a bronze at Kuala Lumpur.

In an email to The Southland Times this week, the Johnstons thanked the community "for the wealth of congratulations we have received from friends, colleagues, and the people of Southland".

"We must stress, this was Sally's moment, and a well-deserved reward for all her dedication and hard work over the past 20 years."

Johnston said despite moving north, she referred to herself as a Southlander.

"I think you're always a Southlander if you're born and raised there. It's still home."

The Southland Times