Shooting star to represent SA in China

2014-03-07 00:00

SOUTH Africa will send its first representative to an air rifle shooting competition at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, in August.

By winning gold against 11 countries at the 11th Africa Shooting Sport Championship in Egypt last month, Sybrand Laurens (17) qualified for one of the 80 quota places in the shooting programme, where he will compete in the junior men’s 10-metre air rifle.

Sybrand and his sister, Reinette (14), have been target shooting since they were nine years old. They moved to Amanzimtoti with their parents, Gys and Elsabé, a year ago. They attend school at Kuswag, and Reinette said shooting was more enjoyable than the other sports at the school.

She was in the team of eight youngsters who represented South Africa at the championships in Cairo.

Only one boy and one girl from Africa can qualify for the Youth Olympics.

“It makes it a bit tough, one has to shoot very accurately,” said her father, Gys.

Sybrand said China, America and Europe will send “very good shottists”, but he is not worried.

“I shoot because I really enjoy it a lot,” said Sybrand.

“The nicest thing about target shooting is that you close yourself off to anything around you — the worst part is having to pack away everything afterward!” he said.

His father said competitive air rifle shooting improves one’s concentrations and forces one to be strictly disciplined, but it is a very expensive sport.

“Unfortunately there is no support for this sport and we have to get the children to all the competitions ourselves,” said Laurens.

Sybrand and Reinette’s equipment costs about R100 000.

The father said there was a lot of interest in the sport in Toti and he will start a club at Kuswag school.

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