20 year-old Sian Bruce will make her Commonwealth Games debut in Glasgow next summer and is relishing the opportunity to shoot for glory in front of home support.
Hailing from Dundee, she will certainly see a lot of familiar faces when she steps up to compete at the shooting venue – The Barry Buddon Shooting Centre in Carnoustie, less than 20km from her home town.
She took up the sport influenced by her father, who used to take her up to Aviemore and she was holding a shotgun from 10 years old. Sian quickly showed she had a natural ability and started competing for Scotland from the age of 12, and by the time she was 14 she was already attending Great Britain selections and hasn’t looked back since.
So she is no stranger to top level competition and already has an Olympic gold to her name – she took gold at the 2010 inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore in the Women’s Olympic Skeet.
Olympic Skeet is quite a complicated discipline to explain verbally and even Sian says “it’s better to see it for yourself to understand it”, but the premise is that there will be a series of targets appearing for the competitors but they don’t come at exact intervals so it keeps their concentration and adrenaline at high levels throughout, waiting for the right moment to pull the trigger. You can’t mount your gun until you see the target so it is very reaction based.
A girl that is oozing determination and confidence, Sian has the competitive spirit that is needed to make it at the top level of her sport. She trains as much as she can, though the best conditions for her training are outdoors – not something that is always possible with the Scottish winters!
Aside from the target practice, she does try to incorporate strength and conditioning into her routine though she says it’s not as essential in her sport as some of the others and says that is clear “when you see some of the athletes competing!”
When she is not focusing on a target and realising her sporting dreams, she is helping others keen to make their dreams come true! She works as a croupier at the Dundee Casino. She started the job when she left school as a way to fund her shooting and two years on she is still there, dealing the cards and enjoying a very different side of life. Her bosses are very accommodating with her training and competition so she mainly works evenings so she can focus on her training during the day and for now, is quite content with way things are.
Having been viewed as a bit of an outcast because of her hobby at a young age, the friends she has now who don’t shoot see it as “pretty cool” and they are often keen to have a go and get the feel for it. Many of them have secured their tickets and will be there to cheer her on next July
She is so excited to be part of Team Scotland in 2014 and views this as her biggest competition platform so far and is determined to make the hard work pay-off. Never short of a smile and a giggle, Sian will bring a warmth and fun side to the Team. She missed out on Delhi when her event was withdrawn after the test event, so she is keen to make up for a missed opportunity and do her friends, family and local community proud.
Being so young she sees a long shooting career ahead of her. It is one of the few sports that you can do well into your senior years and right now she can’t see a time when she won’t have her eye on the target.
Photo Credit: Alistair Devine