Natalie Rooney has shooting medal in her sights
Timaru trap shooter Natalie Rooney is feeling confident as she heads to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.
The talented Rooney is a genuine medal chance, in what will be a tough competition, having finished fifth in Delhi four years ago.
She has spent the past four weeks in Italy with her Italian coach Andrea Miotto and is feeling the benefit of shooting fulltime.
''I am feeling very confident about Glasgow mainly because I feel more prepared than I did for the last Commonwealth Games,'' Rooney said.
''I head over to Glasgow on Thursday [today] so I have one more day here in Conselice before I fly out.'' Rooney said she was looking forward to getting to Glasgow after a good build-up.
''I have been in Italy now for nearly four weeks and my shooting has improved a lot.''
The 25-year-old spent her first two weeks training at Lonato Gun Club and competed in the Beretta Gold Cup where she shot really well.
Rooney scored 92 out of 100 (24, 22, 22, 24) on the first day and then shot 71 out of 75 (24, 25, 22) the second day.
She then moved to the Conselice Gun Club and spent a further week training.
''My scores are improving and my confidence is growing with every day,'' she said.
''I have been practising a lot to get the focus for a full round as that was one of my main problems coming from home where I don't get to shoot much.''
Rooney has had to head overseas to find suitable competition, when time and funds allowed her to do so.
Many of her competitors on the world stage are fulltime professional athletes.
The Timaru shooter has the pedigree to do well after being twice crowned ''Down the Line'' world champion and having the experience of the Delhi Commonwealth Games behind her.
She missed the London Olympics after an appeal to the Sports Tribunal over her selection by smallbore rifle Ryan Taylor was upheld, for the sole spot.
Throughout the controversy Rooney maintained a dignified silence.
The clay target shooting competition in Glasgow begins on July 26 at Barry Buddon.
Defending champion Anita North will not defend her title but the English will still be tough to beat and have included 16-year-old rising star Amber Hill in their 11-strong team while Scotland's hope rest with 49-year-old Shona Marshall.
- The Timaru Herald