Natalie Rooney fires off Comm Games score

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2013

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Timaru trap shooter Natalie Rooney gatecrashed the Australian National International Shooting Sport Federation Championships and made the gold medal shoot-off in the Olympic trap.

Rooney finished second against Australia's best, including Olympic gold medallist Suzie Balogh, who were tough competition for the No 1 Kiwi shooter.

It was a double celebration because the 24-year-old Rooney also shot the qualifying score for next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The requirements for Commonwealth Games selection were scoring a 67 at both a domestic and international competition so now Rooney just needs to get the nod from the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

She was happy with her efforts and believes the new format suits her temperament.

Previously, qualifying scores were carried through to the final but, under the new format, the shooters start from scratch each time as they advance.

A field of 22 started and Rooney made the top-six shoot-off by scoring a 67 to tie for second.

She was one of the two top scorers in the semifinal of six to advance to a shoot-off for gold.

In tricky conditions in Brisbane, she then shot 11 from 15 to finish one target behind winner Laetisha Scanlan.

Rooney said she enjoyed the new format. "You get a fresh start each time you advance and for some reason it seems to help me. I guess you keep looking forward rather than back."

Having shot the qualifying scores for the Commonwealth Games, Rooney said she can now concentrate on trying to win events.

Her next event is next week's New Zealand championship in Christchurch where Rooney will start as the hot favourite in the women's trap.

She is becoming more comfortable with her custom-made Beretta DT11, which she has had since September.

Rooney was fitted for the shotgun when she visited the Italian factory last year.

"I'm pretty happy with it so far. It does make a big difference."

Rooney has already represented New Zealand at a Commonwealth Games, in Delhi in 2010.

She will not face a debacle like the one that resulted in her missing the Olympics, where New Zealand had two quota spots and she lost her place on appeal to a shooter from a different discipline.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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