60 seconds with Chloe Tipple

Chloe Tipple poses during the New Zealand Olympic teams Rio 2016 Olympic Games portrait session. Photo / Getty Images
Chloe Tipple poses during the New Zealand Olympic teams Rio 2016 Olympic Games portrait session. Photo / Getty Images

How much do you put your love of the sport down to formative years duck-shooting in the maimai?

We had the best experiences there. We'd go out there as kids with Dad ... and try to be quiet. Unfortunately, this year I fly out to train in Cyprus the day before the season opens, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. It was important for Dad to get us into guns and have fun with them.

Did you have your camouflage down pat?

Absolutely, that's the whole point of shooting isn't it? (Chuckles) I remember waking at 4am and the only thing I wanted to do was get Dad to put camo paint on my face.

Your parents, David and Betsy, set up Gun City in Christchurch in 1978. You and your siblings help run it these days. How does the family arrangement work?

When people ask about the recipe for our success, it's because we work so well together.

Even lunchtimes can turn into board meetings, brainstorming what we can improve.

How difficult was it when your Dad was imprisoned in the United States after problems exporting guns and ammunition in the wake of 9/11?

The amazing thing is it only brought us closer as a family, and we spent more time with each other. He was there two years which, in the bigger scheme of life, is relatively short. I was 14 when he got back, but we talked to him and wrote letters regularly. It wasn't like he was away with no contact.

How has he reacted to your Olympic selection?

He's so proud and gets more emotional than I do. I love that about him. He has done whatever he can to make my dream come true.

In Cyprus, you will spend time with your coach and 2007 world skeet champion Georgios Achilleos. How did you meet him?

My Dad was doing business there, where skeet and clay target shooting are national sports. Dad told his agent we were looking for a coach. George had never coached but said he'd love to train me because Oceania was in a strong position to win a Rio Olympic quota spot. I'm blessed he can teach me - and we have a good working relationship, too - so I've won the lottery in those respects.

Do you get your eyes tested regularly?

Oddly enough, I haven't since I sat my driver's licence at 15. I suppose I should, but they feel all right. It's not so much eyes that are important, because you can wear glasses, it's more about how smooth you are. If I'm jumpy or anxious, I don't have as much control. When I have those things in sync, I see better.

The target releases randomly between zero and three seconds after you call for it. How do you prepare?

The ones that come out instantly affect people the most, because they're expecting a delay. Before I call 'pull' I go through a thorough process loading the ammo, closing the gun and stepping up to the station.

Is your gun custom-made?

Yes, I'm using a Beretta this season and the barrel, weight and design are all set to my specifications.

- Herald on Sunday

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