Josh Harrison only started shooting competitively two years ago, and made his first tilt at the South Island championship this month.
Competing against juniors his own age and C grade adults, he won several titles over the three days of competition.
“It was very tough, I had to go into a few shoot-offs to win,” Josh said.
But the hours of training he undertakes each week paid off and he came out on top.
Josh’s mother, Kate Hurring, said Josh practised at home and at the Balclutha gun club and she went everywhere with him.
“He has his firearms licence but not his car, so mum has to drive him everywhere and pay for the ammo,” she said.
Josh was introduced to the sport by Dennis Nyhon, of Wanaka, and took to it like a duck to water.
“It appealed to me more than playing any other sport.”
Coached and mentored by Paul Michie, of South Otago, Josh found the over and under style of shotgun suited him best.
“Dennis lent me one of his, and I love the feel and balance of it as I shoot,” Josh said.
A recent change in ammunition has allowed Josh to shoot better while easing the recoil shock to his shoulder. “It’s made it easier for me to shoot for longer periods of time.”
Of the many different facets of clay target shooting, Josh’s favourites are the single rise and skeet competitions.
These are skills he has put to good use, winning several trophies and medals for his school at recent interschool competitions.
SOHS sports co-ordinator Pam Hannah believes Josh has a bright future ahead of him.
“He is a fantastic student and a great shot.
“We have done very well at many recent inter-school tournaments in the region over the past couple of years and it’s down to him and his skills with shooting,” she said.
But Josh’s main goal for the future is to train hard and shoot well.
After competing in Timaru, where he watched Olympic trap shooting silver medallist Natalie Rooney in action, Josh said he now knew what he wanted to do.
“I want to make the Kiwi team and get to the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.”
The next competition for Josh is the Southland provincial clay target championships in Invercargill next week.