VIS scholarship allows Bookaar shooter to aim higher

BOOKAAR shooter Penny Smith believes a Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) scholarship will help take her performances to the next level.

The VIS yesterday announced Smith as one of its scholarship holders for 2014,  an achievement she described as “a dream in the making”.

“I had an interview down there just before Christmas that was about half an hour or 45 minutes long,” she said.

“They asked me basic questions: what are my dreams, hopes, aspirations. They said they’d notify me just before the new year. I got a letter in the mail and a whole heap of paperwork to say I’d been granted a 2014 scholarship. That topped off 2013 for me.

“It’s been a massive dream and something you hope you get into. To get into the VIS isn’t easy, as a lot of athletes would know.

“It’s a real honour to be given a scholarship. It really kick starts what should be a great year.”

Smith said the scholarship would give her access to the VIS facilities and services, such as doctors, nutritionists and psychologists.

It complements an arduous training program at the Werribee and Frankston ranges under Australian International Shooting Limited (AISL) coaches.

“I’ve been down (to the VIS) a couple of times since I got my scholarship and it’s unreal,” Smith said.

The scholarship is recognition for a breakout 2013 for the sharpshooter, who balanced training and competing with year 12 studies at King’s College.

Her most notable result was seventh in the junior women class at ISSF world championships in Peru, firing 62/75 over three rounds.

She also won medals at two AISL events — silver at Oceania championships and gold at youth nationals.

Smith said she was confident the scholarship was the missing piece in the puzzle which could help her improve further.

“I have a real desire to succeed,” she said.

“Me being determined as much as I can and having the VIS alongside me, it gives you that kick to show people I can achieve to the next level.”

Smith said her parents Michael and Kim and brother Andrew, also a top young marksman, deserved credit for helping her achieve.

Her parents have spent hours driving her to training sessions and competitions while Andrew, 21, had been supportive throughout the journey.

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