DOUBLE TRAP SHOOTING
GAYE Shale was driving to the airport last week when reality hit.
The Rutherglen shooter was wearing an Australian Commonwealth Games uniform, her Australian bag on the passenger seat.
She was about to board a flight to Sydney, go through customs and fly to Glasgow as part of a 400-plus national team.
It’s almost nine years since the mother of three last attempted to qualify for the Games.
That was the 2006 Games in Melbourne — a solitary shot in 240 the difference between being part of the Australian contingent on home soil and all but giving up on her dream.
Her double trap speciality was dropped from the 2010 Games in Delhi and 2012 London Olympics.
But winning the national trials in Perth last summer all but booked her ticket on the plane to Glasgow.
In her chosen sport Shale, 46, has to aim high and low, but in terms of ambition she is definitely aiming high.
“Gold is definitely the aim, It has always been my aim, and those that know me know I aim high,” she said.
“I won’t be holding back after narrowly missing teams in the past.
“I feel good and hopefully that translates into results.
“I feel like I have done all the training and preparation, that I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
Shale’s ambition is one thing, her determination another.
In 2001 her husband Jerome was killed while spotlight shooting from the back of a utility which rolled over, crushing him.
Three mates walked away, relatively unharmed.
Shale took on raising her three children, then aged 4, 6 and 8, as well as running the 800-hectare livestock and cropping operation at Boorhaman and their Rutherglen bakery.
“Realistically, I don’t think I could have really done justice to those Games — Commonwealth or Olympic — back then,” she said.
Double trap is a shotgun shooting sport where two targets are released simultaneously following set paths.
The shooter can take one shot at each target.
But Shale’s preparation for these Games has been anything but plain sailing.
“The past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster — my dad passed away, while my son Adam finished fifth in the world shooting titles in Portugal,” she said.
“But the kids and a lot of family and friends will be in Glasgow and that will lift my spirits.
BORDER COMMONWEALTH GAMES ATHLETE PROFILES: