Shooter has success in his sights

Liam McDonald, pictured with his 22-calibre rifle, a Wolfer KK 300.

A Cambridge teenager has been selected for a special training programme after proving his skill with a gun.

Liam McDonald was recently selected for Target Shooting New Zealand’s Junior Development Squad, having completed the organisation’s first training camp in March.

“I went down to the Manuwatu for the trial, and the last day that I was down there they said that I’d made the team… I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” an elated Liam said. “The people there were great, they’re so helpful. It was good to see their experiences and how they can help you out.

“We had a really good time.”

Liam was one of three newbies training alongside people who had already made the development squad – which is limited to just 12 shooters aged 13 to 21 – spending two full days training in both theory and practical lessons and shooting an air rifle for the first time on day two.

“It was quite a jam-packed day of air rifle. That was the first time I’ve given air rifle a go, it was actually really fun,” Liam said. “I started off pretty wobbly, but it got a bit better after a while,” he laughed.

Liam McDonald demonstrates how he uses his 22-calibre rifle.

Between now and the next training camp in Auckland in June, Liam said he wants to take part in as many shooting competitions and events as he can.

“I’ve been doing shooting pretty much all my life really, just with normal 22s, rabbit shooting. I would go out with my grandad sometimes too, to go possum shooting in the middle of the night, it was great, it was really cool.”

Liam said the trick to a good shot is to follow through. “As soon as you shoot, the bullet doesn’t leave (immediately)… so you’ve got to follow through your shot and just keep on looking down the sights,” he said. “Getting your natural point of aim is really important too… and your breathing, breathing really helps a lot.”

Liam currently trains out of the Cambridge Miniature Rifle Club on Pope Terrace, and eventually would like to become a professional shooter, with the aim of competing at the Olympics.

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