Olympic clay target shooter Penny Smith was in town over the weekend, training at the Mildura Clay Target Club for the Tokyo Olympics to be staged in July.
The 25-year-old, who resides in Camperdown, has trained a number of times in Mildura, but says the club’s new shot curtain means she’ll be here a bit closer to competition time than usual.
“I’ve shot here quite a bit through the years,” she said.
“I came down last year to do some training but I’m back now because of the wall.
“It’s really beneficial for training leading into comps and international events.
“It’s very good, state-of-the-art and it’s a real credit to the club and the community.”
Penny has been shooting for 12 years and has achieved a lot during that time.
She won her first World Cup gold in Delhi in 2017 and won gold again in the 2019 World Cup, securing a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
The uncertainty around the event was a little stressful for Penny, but now that there has been more clarity and it has been given the go-ahead, she can buckle down and give her all to preparation.
“It was a bit of a struggle there for a while with COVID, you’d never expect something like that to happen,” she said.
“We’re able to really crack down now though and we’ve got about a six-week run of events coming up.
“We’ll have a training camp after that and then really fine-tune everything before we head into the last camp before the Olympics.”
While it may seem like a lot to squeeze into a span of a few months, Penny enjoys the prospect of a busy schedule.
“For me, the more I put in the more I get out of it, so I like competing in a lot of competitions and training a lot, it’s really valuable for me. It helps me to keep a focused mindset,” she said.
Mildura Clay Target Club vice president Darren Argiro was more than happy to accommodate Penny’s recent training, and says there will be more opportunities to host top-tier shooters after the installation of the shooting curtain.
“It’s the long-term goal for us, to have people of Penny’s calibre coming down,” he said.
“We’ll have more Olympic members coming down eventually for sure.”