WARRNAMBOOL shooter Vicki Johnstone will spearhead a strong south-west Victorian contingent at world clay target shooting championships.
Johnstone is one of seven regional sharpshooters who will contest the Federation Internationale de Tir Aux Sportives de Chasse (FITASC) titles at Chicago this month.
She is part of a 16-shooter Australian squad, which includes three women, headed to the titles from August 16 to 19.
Colac marksman Rod Brain is also in the squad, as a super veteran.
They are joined by Brian Cockayne, Glendon Dickinson, Stephen Sambell, Malcolm Price and Steve Chiltern, who left Australia this week.
The four-day Chicago event will be Johnstone’s third appearance on the world stage, but first with the Australian team.
She featured at Laang, when the titles were in Australia in 2008, and backed up with a trip to Italy in 2010.
Johnstone, 51, said she was pleased with her Australian result but was treating the world titles as a redemption mission after a disappointing result in Italy. “I think I finished 14th but because it was in Australia they didn’t have the same number of competitors, the field wasn’t anywhere near as big,” she said.
“Italy was nearly three times as big. The first two days I was very happy with the way I was shooting, I was sitting about 10th.
“Then I had a disastrous third day. It took me six months to look at the field placings, and I finished in the middle of the field.”
Johnstone took up FITASC shooting about seven years ago, as part of a come-and-try day at the Laang range. She found success every time she returned to the range.
“When you break a clay, you either love it or you don’t. When you break an extremely difficult clay you think ‘wow’,” she said.
“It’s just a buzz and the excitement you get.
“I was very lucky when I went to the come-and-try, I broke a couple of targets.”
Johnstone said the Australian team ventured to the North American city with high hopes.
“I would hope I could place — I shouldn’t put a finger on it — in the top 20 per cent. If I shoot well I do have the ability to do that,” she said.
“As a team we like to think we would have a chance of taking home a medal but I don’t know what the field is like.”