Scottie turns to rifle for Paralympic push

Rachael Oxborrow

On his third anniversary of joining forces with the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA) to promote target shooting as an all-abilities sport, Scottie Brydon is showing the nation and the world just how accessible the sport really is. “I’m in a wheelchair, achieving at a top level and having the best time of my life,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who you are there are no labels, it’s an even playing field and one of the best ways to be social and enjoy being active.”

The Trap shooter’s campaign to compete in the 2024 Paris Paralympics has taken a new direction recently, following the exclusion of his preferred shotgun events from the Paris line-up. He began to forge a new path into elite rifle shooting in early 2020 but his initial efforts were hampered by the global pandemic effectively shutting down all sport for an extended period. But Scottie has been able to regain his focus quite quickly.

“Once everything opened up again in late 2021, I made sure I was involved in domestic competition and performing at my best in front of the people who pick the squads,” he said. “I was lucky enough to be selected by Shooting Australia and included in the Pathways Squad for rifle which put me on my way to making the national team.”

Scottie said while rifle wasn’t his first choice, it’s not a new venture for him. “I’ve shot rifles all my life, particularly as a youngster,” he said. “But the reality is it’s a different style of shooting to shotgun, very physical and more about practicing firing. It’s all about muscle memory, shooting in jackets, off benches and triggering. If you do something wrong in rifle competitions it can really affect all aspects of what you do.”

As a Trap shooter Scottie has competed in Paraplegic Olympic Trap events and set a new world record in qualifying for the WSPS Championships at the Sydney International Shooting Centre in 2019. His shooting career began in his hometown of Cobar, NSW before he relocated to Canberra to be closer to competition and training facilities. SSAA partnered with Scottie in 2019 to support his sporting endeavours and promote the shooting sports.

Earlier this year he competed in the first international competition on his road to Paris at the Chateauroux 2022 World Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) World Cup in France. “To do as well as I did on my first international trip was great but also an eye-opener to gauge where you’re at with international competitors,” he said. “I hadn’t been shooting against internationalists for quite a few years so it’s pleasing to know I’m in the mix with my scores.”

His performance in France impressed selectors who have chosen him for the 2022 WSPS World Cup in Changwon, Korea. There he competed in the Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1 and scored 594.9 to place 16th.  As Scottie pursues his dream he’s taking every opportunity to promote the sport and prove target shooting is for everyone. “Disability won’t hold you back when it comes to shooting,” he said. “The sport is out there for all and there’s no limit to what you can do. Shooting is a fun sport and I’m just trying to get that message out there and hopefully inspire others to join in.”

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