Sixteen-year-old Aislin Jones is poised to become the youngest shooter to represent Australia at the Olympic Games after being named in the 16-strong shooting team to take part in the 2016 Rio Games, which starts in August.
The selectors have opted for a mix of youth and experience, with 18-year-old Jack Rossiter and James Willett, 20, standing along with Victorian Skeet shooter Jones as the untried faces of the squad. At the other end of the scale, they will be joined by 54-year-old Warren Potent, who is the current world champion. This will be Potent’s fifth appearance at the Olympics and his inclusion makes him the oldest Australian to be called up for Rio so far. Belarussian-born Lalita Yauhleuskaya will be making her sixth trip to the Olympics, while it will be the fourth Games outing for Daniel Repacholi.
Joining Potent and Rossiter to form the Rifle representatives will be SSAA member and contributor Will Godward, Jennifer Hens and Dane Sampson. The five Pistol shooters will be Sydney bronze medallist Yauhleuskaya, David Chapman, Blake Blackburn, Elena Galiabovitch and Repacholi. Meanwhile, in the Shotgun events, Jones links up with fellow Olympic debutant Willett, 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medallist Laetisha Scanlan, world championship medallist Catherine Skinner, London Olympian Keith Ferguson and Skeet star Paul Adams.
Two final athletes will be chosen for the men’s Trap at a later date. Teenager Mitchell Iles has taken his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Adam Vella and Michael Diamond were the pair that Shooting Australia favoured for those spots.
For Jones, the Games berth is a dream come true. “It’s pretty exciting to know that I’ll be the youngest Australian shooter for Australia,” she said. “I’ve been dreaming of going to an Olympics for a few years now and to have the words written down on paper ‘you have been selected for Rio’ is amazing.”
Jones’s appearance means that at the age of 16 years and 181 days when the Rio Games gets underway on August 5 she will break new ground as the youngest shooter. The previous youngest was Annemarie Forder who was 18 at the Atlanta Games of 1996.
UPDATE: On July 4, Shooting Australia announced that it has nominated men’s Trap shooters Adam Vella and Mitchell Iles for selection to the Australian Olympic Team. The decision comes after an extensive appeals and arbitration process.