Teenage women’s skeet shooter Aislin Jones will be the youngest Australian athlete aiming for the top in Rio in an individual sport.
She will also be Australia’s youngest shooting athlete to ever compete at an Olympic Games.
And despite being only 16, the momentous honour of representing her country is not lost on the Victorian.
“Walking into the stadium at the opening ceremony is going to be incredible,” says Jones, who is taking time out of her Year 10 studies at Bairnsdale’s Nagle College to compete. “I’m looking forward to the whole experience.”
Jones was 10 when she became mesmerised by shooting while tagging along with her father, paramedic Dave Jones, as he fired at clay targets at the Bairnsdale Field and Game club.
“When I started breaking clay targets, it was addictive,” says Jones, who attained her junior firearm permit at 12.
In the few short years since, Jones has bagged multiple state and national titles and competed on the world stage, coming eighth at the 2016 world cup in Azerbaijan.
“It’s so much fun,” Jones says of her chosen sport. “Even at this level of competition I still really enjoy it, which is probably what makes the hard work so much easier.”
Jones knows she has her work cut out for her in Rio when she comes up against the best shooters in the world—most of them older and more experienced—and although quietly confident, she remains philosophical about her first Olympics.
“I want to go there and enjoy the experience and take as much as I can away from it so I can use that experience at future events,” she says. “I want to walk away from the competition knowing I have done my absolute best.”
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