Ten Scots will be among the 34-strong GB squad for the final shooting World Cup of the year which takes place in Granada, Spain from 3-12 July.
Team Scotland caught up with double Commonwealth gold medallist, Jon Hammond – who will be competing in the Prone and 3P Rifle – ahead of the teams’ departure. We wanted to find out how he’s been preparing and what his hopes are for this event and looking ahead to Glasgow 2014.
Q: There are ten Scots in the world cup squad – who should we be looking out for?
JH: I didn’t realize there were so many of us going! I don’t know the shotgun and pistol shooters too well yet as well as I’m based in the US, but I know Shona Marshall will be aiming to do well in the Trap event and is capable of making the final. The World Cups are a big step up in competition from the Commonwealth Games, so I think anyone who can make a final will have had a great result and everyone will have different goals.
Q: Do the Scots stick together when competing under team GB?
JH: Myself and Neil (Stirton) travel a lot so we spend a lot of time together! However we probably spend more time with our team mates in rifle, whether they are English or Welsh as we compete more as a Great Britain team. We train and compete with them way more than we ever see the pistol and clay target shooters. There is great camaraderie within Team Scotland for Commonwealth Games, so it’s great to see those team mates again.
Q: What goals have you set yourself for this competition?
JH: Prone has been my main focus this year, and we are dealing with new rules in both events, so partly I am still trying to get used to everything. My goal is to have the best performance possible as it is for every match.
Q: Since your medal success in Delhi, what have you been doing in your training, what events have you competed in and what have your results been?
JH: Since Delhi the focus moved onto London 2012. 2011 was a big year for qualification and I had a reasonable season and ultimately was selected for the GB Olympic team. That really took all the focus from then on and it was an amazing experience.
After a pair of top 15 finishes at the London test event my highest result at the Olympics was 17th however I was only 2 points away from the final, showing how close the competition was.
The conditions were very difficult but it was a great experience and something I will always remember. For me this season has been a little slower coming off a long year last year and this winter I will begin to focus on Glasgow.
Q: What’s after the World Cup and what are the major milestones from now until Glasgow?
JH: This is our last World Cup of the season, and after that I will only compete in the European Championships in Croatia. The next big milestone will be our early selection possibly in October. Â Hopefully I will be selected and I can begin all the planning for the winter and next season in the lead up to Glasgow.
Q: What are you goals for Glasgow?
JH: Some of the new rules in our sport may alter how I prepare for the Games, but the biggest rules change of starting the scores from zero for the finals has really created a lot of equality and I think gives many more people the chance of winning a medal. All I will focus on is having the best performance possible and see what happens.
Q: What will it mean to you competing at home? Is there more or less pressure?
JH: Well like London it will be very special to compete at home, it probably won’t happen ever again for us in a major international competition, so that is something to savour. With the shooting in Carnoustie my parents, family and friends will not have far to travel and that will be quite special having all of them there regardless of the outcome.
There will be far more exposure to media, and maybe outside expectations and it will then be down to us how we deal with that. Â Home Games as I discovered in London do create a different atmosphere with both positives and negatives, but hopefully my experience from London will give me a small advantage.
We wish Jon and the rest of the team the very best of luck!
Scottish shooters selected:
Andrew Addison (Trap)
Caroline Brownlie (Air & 25m Pistol)
Sian Bruce (Skeet)
Dave Caughey (Prone Rifle)
Drew Christie (Skeet)
Calum Fraser (Double Trap)
Jon Hammond (Prone & 3P Rifle)
Shona Marshall (Trap)
Jen McIntosh (3P & Air Rifle)
Neil Stirton (Prone & 3P Rifle)
Rifle Coach: Donald McIntosh
Physiotherapist: Lesley Dawson
Photo Credit: CGS