The SSAA is proud to welcome our latest recruit, Gemma Dunn, as our Coaching and Membership Development Manager. Gemma is a familiar figure for many in the shooting community, having spent a good portion of her life competing around the country and representing Australia on multiple occasions.
As part of her role, Gemma will be the face of a new publication featuring women in shooting, while her everyday responsibilities will centre on developing a broad spectrum of new and experienced shooters using her unparalleled level of expertise, passion and fresh perspective.
As Coaching and Membership Development Manager I want to nurture the special aspects of our sport to ensure its longevity. I will also focus on junior shooters and their development for whatever type of shooting they may be interested in. Whether that’s competitive or recreational, socially or at an elite level,” said Gemma.
She says one of the things that makes her so passionate about shooting is it’s the most inclusive and diverse sport she has been involved with.
“I enjoy being able to compete against my dad and my boyfriend equally where things like fitness, disability/ability, height, gender and age etc. don’t discriminate ‑ we’re all equal and it just comes down to skill.”
“There aren’t many sports that could have the final five competitors made up of a veteran, a middle-aged man, a 22-year-old woman, 16-year-old junior and 13-year-old sub-junior all competing against each other for the same prize,” said Gemma.
“But I had the honour of witnessing this and seeing the lady come out on top after a long and gruelling shoot-off. It really is something I believe only the shooting sports can offer.”
“I’m excited to work with the coaches the SSAA already has. To me, a coach can be both a professionally-trained person or simply a parent supporting and developing their son or daughter each weekend on the range.”
“I can’t deny that many people have much more experience in coaching than I do but my goal is to nurture and support them in their vital role for our sport. I welcome members of all skill levels to consider becoming a coach. It will not only improve the quality of our clubs but increase their own confidence levels as a shooter and appreciate being a part of something bigger than all of us.”
Gemma’s own shooting journey began after an incidental meeting with two Olympic clay target shooters who piqued her interest with stories of competing for Australia and travelling the world via shooting.
A few broken clays later was all it took for her to be hooked. Gemma says competing throughout NSW with her dad as a teenager was a fantastic time and it didn’t take long for her competitive side to kick in, which led to her being offered her first overseas trip to represent Australia in Women’s Olympic Trap.
“Ten years on and I’ve been fortunate to have made Australian teams on multiple occasions, with my last World Cup being in May, 2017 in Cyprus. One of my highlights was winning a team bronze at the 2015 World Summer University Games in South Korea. My teammates for that event were Indi Gladman and 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist Catherine Skinner,” said Gemma.
“Since then I’ve begun to focus on our sport in a different way, by spending less time on the range as an athlete and more time giving back to shooting through the application of my Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) degree and knowledge of shooting sports in various sports management and operations roles.”
One of these included being Shooting Sport Operations Manager at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where she delivered a world-class experience to some of the best shooters from around the globe. Despite all these professional commitments, Gemma still finds plenty of time to make it to the range.
“Aside from my competitive shooting, for which I use a custom-made 12g Perazzi MX2000 double-barrel shotgun, I enjoy a vast array of other shooting activities,” she said.
“I go to St Marys Indoor Shooting Centre and shoot my Ruger American .22 and also enjoy going to Anzac Rifle Range to shoot long-range with my partner’s Remington .223 and Weatherby .308. I also had my first go at shooting 800m earlier this year and can’t wait to do it again.”
Keep an eye out for Gemma around the traps as well as in our new publication later this year that will focus on women shooters.