Seventeen-year-old Olivia Hill is going from strength to strength. At the 2019 ESSU Championships at Bisley on 27th and 28th April, Olivia qualified 1st in Juniors and 4th in the Open event, giving her a place in the final. Finishing 2nd overall, Olivia was the highest scoring junior, and came home with the title of English Junior 10m Air Rifle Champion.
With A level exams just weeks away, Olivia now had to focus on her studies. However, one afternoon in May, Olivia received some exciting news that drew her focus right back to shooting. She’d been selected for the 2019 Junior World Cup.
Junior World Cup 2019
On Friday 12th July, Olivia will travel with her team mates and coaches to Suhl, Germany. During the following week, she’ll compete in two 10m Precision Air Rifle events – individual, and mixed pairs – at the Suhl-Friedberg Shooting Centre, a venue that’s considered to be one of the world’s most attractive shooting facilities. Olivia will be shooting her Walther PCP rifle.
For hundreds of years, Suhl has held a significant position in the world of firearms and shooting. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Suhl was a world leader in the production of cannons, and in 1751, the famous firearms manufacturer, Sauer & Sohn, was established in the city. Suhl’s largest producer of firearms today is Merkel GmbH, manufacturer of rifles and shotguns.
Olivia’s Coach, Paul Goater
Olivia’s training programme is a never-ending regime; it’s a way of life. But with an important competition approaching, Olivia must raise her game.
Paul Goater, manager of the England Rifle Academy and lead air rifle coach for the Rifle Talent Squad (part of the GB Olympic Shooting Pathway), is Olivia’s primary coach.
“We’re currently in prep mode,” he explains. “But now we need to switch to comp mode. In competition mode, the emphasis is different. We generally don’t make changes, but just concentrate on ways of making sure Liv can deliver her performance in a match. So, we’ll look at tactics, balance, stress management, endurance, nutrition, mental skills … the things that will allow her to do well.”
Paul has known Olivia for about two years. Her progress, he tells me, is impressive.
“Liv is still developing quickly and exhibits all the behaviours and attitudes of a potentially great athlete. She’s been a real pleasure to coach, and if she keeps working hard, is certainly capable of great things.”
A Very Special Girl
Between now and 12th July, Olivia will take the remainder of her A level exams; she’ll continue to work part time at Carberrys café in Norwich; and she’ll train for the Junior World Cup. As this very special girl shows me her kit bag (how on earth will she carry it? – it’s enormous!), I feel incredibly lucky to know her.
My sentiments are echoed in Paul Goater’s words:
“I hope that I am fortunate enough to remain part of her support team moving forward.”
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