Warren Potent is confident he can break Australia’s Olympic shooting medal drought in Rio, flanked by an arsenal of young guns also looking to make their mark. The 54-year-old was the country’s last Games medallist in the sport, winning bronze in the 50m rifle prone at Beijing in 2008.
He is currently ranked second in the world, having bagged two World Cup silver medals in March and April.
“I’ve had a good year,” Potent said. The Sydney-born marksman is set to be the second oldest athlete on the Australian Olympic team, behind 61-year-old dressage rider Mary Hanna. He’ll be competing alongside Australia’s youngest ever Games shooter – 16-year-old Aislin Jones. Jones, contesting the women’s skeet, was born just seven months before Potent’s maiden Olympic appearance at Sydney in 2000.
She is just a year younger than trap shooter Mitchell Iles, a late inclusion in the team but considered a rising star.
The 17-year-old earned selection after winning a Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal, replacing dual gold medallist and six-time Olympian Michael Diamond who was ruled ineligible following his arrest on drink-driving and firearm charges.
James Willett remains arguably Australia’s brightest hope of a medal in Brazil.
The 20-year-old farmer from country NSW has come from relative obscurity to become the world’s No.1-ranked double trap shooter – less than two years after taking up the shotgun discipline.
He beat Russian world No.1 Mosin Vasily to win his first World Cup title at a test event in Rio, adding to the bronze he claimed at an earlier round in Cyprus.
The quietly-spoken Willett, who will shoot on day five of the Games, is confident he can manage the weight of expectation.
SHOOTERS TO WATCH AT THE RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES:
JAMES WILLETT (Australia) – A 20-year-old farmer from country NSW who only became a double-trap shooter in 2014. He’s been on a rapid rise since, beating world No.1 Mosin Vasily to win World Cup gold at a Rio test event in April following bronze at an earlier round. A genuine medal chance.
WARREN POTENT (Australia) – Australia’s most recent Olympic shooting medallist (bronze in Beijing) and one of the oldest team members at 54. Rio will be his fifth Games and is the current world No.2 in the men’s 50m rifle prone.
LALITA YAUHLEUSKAYA (Australia) – One of the country’s most experienced pistol shooters heading to her sixth Games but fourth for Australia. She won Olympic bronze in 2000 with Belarus plus seven Commonwealth Games gold. Her qualification score would put her in contention for a medal in Rio.
KIM RHODE (United States) – The most successful female Olympic shooter ever. She has won a medal at every Olympics since Atlanta 1996, including three gold, in skeet and double trap. She will become just the second American woman to compete at six Games.
MATTHEW EMMONS (United States) – World No.1 in the men’s three-position rifle. Won gold at Athens in 2004, silver in Beijing and bronze in London. On track to win a fourth medal after finishing second at a Rio test event.[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]Article first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald website 6/7/16 at 1.33pm. Read the full article here: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/olympics/rio-2016/olympics-australia/rio-olympics-2016-shooting-veteran-warren-potent-says-fifth-games-will-be-his-best-20160706-gpzon5.html[/box]