Echuca shooter Kiara Dean continues training despite isolation

By Andrew Johnston

Kiara Dean picks up her gun.

She puts it to her shoulder, leans in and looks down the barrel, visualising her target.

But there is no trigger pull.

She puts the gun down, takes a deep breath, before bringing it back into position.

Again, her trigger finger remains motionless.

In reality, the gun isn't loaded, and she is miles away from any clays.

“It's called dry-mounting,” Dean says.

“You do it 100 times just to keep your body used to being in position. You visualise your target, and then you reset. It's a pretty effective way of training.”

For the Echuca shooter, there isn't a lot of choice in the matter.

Gun clubs across the nation were closed in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, so there is no where she can go to shoot — even if she wanted to.

Instead, the shooting prodigy is isolating, remaining away from people as much as she can.

“I'm asthmatic,” Dean said.

“It would be really bad for me if I were to get sick, so I'm going out of my way to avoid it at all costs.”

Even if the 18-year-old wanted to train on a range, there wouldn't be much point.

Like most major sports, shooting is on hold, with events across Australia and the rest of the world currently on hold until the world regains composure during the chaos.

So she is forced to wait until the competition of her sport returns — likely in a year's time — to see how things go.

“Every major event that I had goals to shoot is going to have to wait, as is a trip to Italy for an event later in the year,” Dean said.

The mention of Italy changes her though.

Just shy of a year ago, Italy was the site of the ISSF World Championships, the biggest shoot of her life, while days later she would be in Germany for the junior world cup.

Now, months later, while she joins so many others trying to avoid the virus, those nations are now the epicentre of the pandemic in Europe.

“There are people I met when I was over there who are now directly being affected,” she said.

“It really puts a lot of things in to perspective for you. At the moment, I can still do some form of training, I can keep myself fit and strong for when we return.

“The worst thing for me is not being able to train on a range, and when you compare that to what people I have met are going through, it's very clear just how fortunate I am.”

But Dean is well aware that the goals she set for herself in the shooting world are not gone, but simply on hold for the time being.

“My goals still exist, it's just another a year before I can achieve them,” she said.

“It's not like I'm the only person who is in this position, every competitor is impacted by what is happening here. So I've shifted my focus to my fitness and staying mentally engaged with the sport.

“I'll do what physical training I can for now, stay prepared and be ready for next year.”