On target for national team

September 16, 2017

Young Mooroopna clay target shooter Xavier Russell.

Young Mooroopna clay target shooter Xavier Russell has returned from the Sporting Clays Australia National Championships in Western Australia with the Sub-Junior (under-17) title.

Xavier, 15, who in July won the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia’s National 5-Stand Sub-Junior Championship in Shepparton, travelled to Geraldton with his dad last week for the three-day Sporting Clays event from September 8 to 10.

Shot over eight rounds of 25 targets, Xavier finished with a score of 164 from the possible 200 to win the Sub-Junior title.

He was a bit uncertain going into the competition.

‘‘I was nervous because it was my first Sporting Clays Nationals and I thought there would be a lot of Sub-Junior shooters there with a higher skill level than me,’’ he said.

It proved to be a small field of just five shooters in the Sub-Junior class, but Xavier’s score had him a clear winner and placed him with the sixth best score in the category above, Juniors, in which shooters are aged up to 20.

The win sees him included in the National Training Squad, which will compete at the Sporting Clays Australia Grand Prix in South Australia in March.

Following the Grand Prix, each shooter’s scores from that event are added to their tally from the Nationals and the three best Juniors will be invited to join the Australian Team to compete in the Federation Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse World Championships in France next year.

Xavier said the opportunity to take part in the Worlds would be fantastic.

‘‘I think it would be an exciting and memorable experience,’’ he said.

Asked whether he thought be would get that far, Xavier was not too confident, but said he would give it his best shot.

‘‘I think I have a slim chance of making the team,’’ he said.

‘‘Over the next seven months I will hopefully be training with the Bendigo Academy of Sport to further my mental concentration and shooting ability in preparation for the Grand Prix in March.’’

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