Shooting: Junior hot shot retains title

By Shane Hurndell

There was little time for Melanie Hesseling to celebrate a third national pistol shooting title last night.

"After two days off school at the start of the nationals I had a bit of school work to catch up on so I thought I had better do that," Hesseling said.

The Napier Girls' High School year 13 student and boarder retained her junior air title on the final day of the Hawke's Bay-hosted nationals with a score of 358.

It was her third national title as she had won the national secondary schools title previously.

Although she represents the Hamilton club, Hesseling, 16, is happy to be labelled "the most successful Bay competitor" in the 70-strong field because she has been based in the Bay for all of her secondary school years. Because she is eligible to compete in the junior ranks for another four years there is potential for the shooter with five years experience in the sport to win it six times.

A top 10 placegetter at the Sydney-hosted Youth Olympics in January, Hesseling, has set Commonwealth Games and Youth Olympics as her long-term international goals.

"Rio [the 2016 Olympics] would be nice," she before hitting the books.

Multiple national recordholders Jason Wakeling and Jocelyn Lees of Auckland won the respective men's and women's aggregate titles. Wakeling scored 2753 points over his five events while Lees scored 1463 over her three events.

Lees won the women's 25m sport title yesterday with a score of 556. Otago-based Russian Sergey Abdula won the men's sport title with a score of 563.

Hibiscus Coast's Joe Bailey won the junior boys air title with a score of 562.

Martch-director for the nationals, Hawke's Bay Sports Hall of Famer and multiple Commonwealth Games medallist Julian Lawton, is confident the Bay club will be awarded the nationals again next year.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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