Sutherland aiming high after NZ title

Southland shooters took out the handicap by distance team event at the New Zealand Down The Line shooting championships in Hamilton this week.

Led by Invercargill shooter Stuart Sutherland, who is ranked fourth in New Zealand, the Southland club team won the lead-up event to the world championships, to be held in Hamilton from Saturday till Wednesday.

Sutherland said he was using the week-long national event to prepare himself for higher honours at the world championships.

He was encouraged by his peers to attempt qualifying for a place in a New Zealand men's team that will contest the championships after shooting well locally.

Sutherland attended qualifying events and was the fourth highest ranked New Zealand men's shooter selected.

A maximum field of 640 of the world's best will vie for both individual and team honours at the world championships.

New Zealand teams will take on a host of countries including Australia, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Down The Line shooting is more commonly known as clay target shooting. Sutherland said he had faced trying conditions in Hamilton this week, which made shooting good scores difficult.

"It has rained all week . . . scores are well down," he said.

Sutherland still felt he was in good form and was looking forward to competing in the world championships.

"There's nerves and excitement," he said.

Jonny Turner is a journalism student at SIT