Olympics: Three shooters heading to Rio

By David Leggat

Natalie Rooney poses during the New Zealand Olympic teams Rio 2016 Olympic Games portrait session. Photo /Getty
Natalie Rooney poses during the New Zealand Olympic teams Rio 2016 Olympic Games portrait session. Photo /Getty

Three shooters will represent New Zealand at the Rio Olympic Games in August.

The trio confirmed today includes Levin marksman Ryan Taylor, who will return for his third Olympics in the 50m prone rifle discipline.

Timaru's Natalie Rooney has been selected for the women's trap event while Chloe Tipple of Christchurch will contest the women's skeet event.

Taylor was New Zealand's only representative at the London Games in 2012, and only got there are going through legal channels to contest a decision to award the only place to Rooney.

Taylor's bid was successful and Rooney was withdrawn.

"The achievements of Ryan, Natalie and Chloe in gaining these three qualification spots is a direct reflection of the dedication they have shown to their sport and the professional approach they all have taken to achieving Olympic selection," New Zealand Olympic Committee boss Kereyn Smith said.

The naming of the three lifts New Zealand's team of athletes to 55.

Taylor, 36, has had previous appearances in Athens in 2004 and London, along with three Commonwealth Games campaigns. He can bank on 18 years international experience going to Rio.

He met the qualifying requirements in events in both Germany and the United States last year.

Rooney competed at both the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games, placing fifth and fourth in the individual events respectively.

She put herself in the frontline of contenders by winning the Oceania championships in Sydney late last year, her final opportunity to produce a qualifying performance. Rooney also finished sixth at the world shotgun championships in Italy last September.

Rooney will take a world ranking of seventh to Rio, having jumped from 64th before the London Olympics.

Tipple, 24, has made a rapid rise through the sport to justify her selection.

She won double national titles last year, having only started shooting the Olympic disciplines in 2011.

New Zealand's only Olympic shooting medal came at Mexico City in 1968, when Christchurch's Ian Ballinger won bronze in the smallbore.

- NZ Herald

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