Georgina Roberts 'hungry' for shooting success

By Gareth BaileyBBC Sport Wales
Georgina Roberts: 'I haven't pulled the trigger properly for months'

In January, trap shooter Georgina Roberts made her competitive international debut at the Malaga Grand Prix and won it.

Two months later, the coronavirus pandemic temporarily put the 23-year-old's ambitions on hold, but she says that time off has "made her hungrier".

This week Roberts returned to training as Wales' lockdown rules were eased.

"It's been a shock to the system [going back to training], but it's been lovely," Roberts told BBC Sport Wales.

"I've really missed it. I haven't pulled the trigger for nearly three months, so when you do get that kick-back I've missed that familiar feeling."

Roberts trains at the Griffin-Lloyd Shooting Ground in Powys, the Fauxdegla Shooting Ground in Wrexham and Nuthampstead in Cambridgeshire.

She also coaches at those venues in addition to Mendip in Somerset and EJ Churchill in Buckinghamshire, a long way from her home in Mold.

"We are fortunate to be one of those sports have been able to go back sooner rather than later," said Roberts, though she admits the wait has been frustrating.

"Shooting is a socially distanced sport anyway, there are big gaps in between each stand so I think the frustrating thing has been waiting for someone to tell us we can continue doing what we do, even though we're still adhering to social-distancing rules."

'Not the same without recoil'

As for lockdown training, Roberts says it has been limited, focusing on mental and mobility work through yoga and pilates and also dry mounting.

"It sounds odd [dry-mounting]; you're using an empty gun and doing your whole routine, practicing your timing, but there's no recoil, so it's not that same experience," she said.

Despite her best efforts to recreate that feeling, Roberts says, "it's never quite the same as being on the range".

Roberts is into her sixth year of shooting, having got into the sport almost by accident aged 17.

"My dad's a farmer, he's always been involved in shooting, but because it was all of his friends I was quite intimidated and wouldn't take up the sport," she said.

Then a chance meeting with former Great Britain shooter Katie Cowell changed all that.

"I was at a charity day and she stood behind me and watched while I took some of my first shots and she said, 'Oh you're okay at this for someone who's not really done that much!'"

Cowell introduced Roberts to her father, who became her first coach as Roberts took up skeet shooting.

Fast forward a year and a visit to the orthodontist forced her to change her shooting discipline: "I got braces, so when I put the gun up to my cheek it was rubbing, so I switched over to Olympic Trap and it's been the best thing I could have done. I absolutely love it."

Roberts quickly made the jump from shooting for county, to country and now has her eyes on winning a gold medal at a future Olympic games.

"Absolutely, the Olympic gold medal is 100% the goal," she added. "My goal will be Paris [2024] and then Los Angeles [2028] from that."

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