Australia’s Olympic shooting couple, Russell and Lauryn Mark, have bagged an Australian title each at the national championships for the Olympic clay target shooting disciplines being held in Brisbane this week.
Atlanta Olympic gold medalist Russell Mark was victorious over fellow Victorian Nicholas Kirley in the Double Trap National Championship. It was the first national championship conducted anywhere in the world under new rules introduced for the Rio Olympics.
Russell’s 22 out of a possible 30 put him two targets ahead of Nicholas in the gold medal contest. The new one-on-one duelling gold medal showdown is designed to put competitors under extreme mental pressure and Russell says there’s no doubt the new system has achieved its goal.
“The pressure is pretty intense out there but it’s great for the crowd and that’s what it’s all about,” Russell said.
Mark’s performance at age 48 has earned him a spot in the Australian team to contest the next World Cup in Mexico in March.
Trap shooter and dual Olympic gold medallist Michael Diamond contested the Double Trap for the first time in more than 10 years, but fell just short of making the semi-final.
Lauryn Mark made it a gold double by claiming victory in the National Women’s ISSF Skeet Championship. Lauryn’s 11 from 16 gave her the gold by one target over Western Australia’s Laura Coles.
Lauryn said she felt the pressure of the new finals system, but that wasn’t the toughest mental hurdle to overcome.
“I couldn’t let Russell have a national title all on his own, that would have been unbearable for the next 12 months,” says Lauryn.
In the third event decided today, Victoria’s James Bolding won the preliminary Skeet competition for men. James took gold in the Commonwealth Championship in a shoot-off against Brisbane’s Kevin Dellinger.
Trap events are now underway and conclude Saturday.
See highlights and interviews with Russell and Lauryn in this video: