Policewoman wins gold in shooting competition

2019-05-08 06:00
Detective Lieutenant Colonel, Samantha Mclean.                               Photo:LULAMA ZENZILE

Detective Lieutenant Colonel, Samantha Mclean. Photo:LULAMA ZENZILE

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A PORT Elizabeth detective has beaten the odds when she recently won three medals at a shooting competition in Ladysmith, competing against her male counterparts.

This comes five years after Detective Lieutenant Colonel, Samantha Mclean, was stabbed in the face, body and fingers in 2014, and was told she would never be able to shoot again.

Mclean bagged gold, silver and bronze medals and was the 10th and only female team player in the SAPS EC provincial squad.

In 2014, Mclean was a victim of a severe attack at her house in Despatch where she was stabbed several times in her face, body and fingers.

She had lost the nerve endings in her fingers, which caused her to lose feeling and grip on her fingers. Her doctors informed her that she would never be able to shoot again. However, this did not deter the 41-year-old mother from fulfilling her passion as a law enforcer.

“After my attack I was informed by the doctor that due to my injuries, I might not be able to shoot again. Being a police woman, I was required to carry a firearm.

“However, when I had to go for maintenance shooting, I decided that I would not allow my injuries to hamper my service delivery to the community. After the maintenance shooting, I took up combat rifle shooting and never looked back,” Mclean said.

Mclean’s commander and mentor at SAPS Mount Road, Colonel Michael Brand, encouraged her to confront this hurdle and took her to the shooting range in Addo. Brand also took her to the Grahamstown army base for trials in R5 combat rifle where she managed to make the provincial team.

Mclean added, “I started at Mount Road Detectives in 2016 and was encouraged by my commander, Colonel Brand, to try out combat rifle shooting as he noticed my ability to shoot after my maintenance shooting.

“Combat rifle shooting is seen in general as a male dominated sport and to achieve a position you really need to prove yourself by scoring higher than the male shooters.”

In 2017, Mclean was selected to the national team and walked away with gold and bronze medals at the South African Combat Rifle Association (SACRA) Nationals in Bloemfontein. In 2018, due to work commitments, she was unable to compete at national level despite having qualified in the 9mm pistol category. However, she came back vigorously in 2019.

“I attended the trials at provincial level in 2017 and was selected for the national team. I won gold and bronze medals and after this, I was part of the EC provincial team for combat rifle shooting.

“In 2018, I shot 100% in maintenance shooting in the 9mm pistol category and was asked to join the provincial team at a national competition. However, due to work commitments, I could not attend the Practical Pistol Nationals in Moloto, Gauteng.”

Hailing from Bloemendal in Port Elizabeth, McLean matriculated at Bethelsdorp High in 1995.

She completed a BA degree in psychology and sociology at the Nelson Mandela University and joined SAPS in 2000 after graduation, where she acquired her BTech in Policing at the University of South Africa.

In 2008, tragedy struck the mother of three when she lost her 18-month-old son.

“When I lost my boy, due to a drowning incident at home, I always compared whatever negative or bad situation I was encountered with, to the death of my baby. Nothing is worse than that.

“After the attack, I had to get my mindset in the right place and focus on my recovery and moving forward because my children looked up to me and I could not disappoint them.”

The support from Mclean’s family and friends, encouraged her to pursue combat rifle shooting.

“Without the support from my friends and family, I would not be where I am today. I am a grandmother of a two-year-old girl and currently working at Gelvandale detectives as a group commander.

“When I joined, I wanted to work within the employment health and wellness offices as a psychologist, but after my college training, I found a new passion for field work and serving my community.”

Through hard work, determination and support, Mclean believes in fighting to achieve your goals.

“My motto in life is, ‘Never give up before you have tried’. With a positive mindset, you can achieve anything.”

Mclean will be competing again this year at a prestigious shooting competition.

Mount Road Cluster Commander, Major General Thembisile Patekile, congratulated the officer on her outstanding achievement.

Patekile added, “Her perseverance and tenacity have earned her these medals. She is an inspiration to others for not giving up, and overcoming her difficulties.

“She has proven that these misfortunes don’t have to keep one from achieving one’s goals. We are proud of her as she had to face some very strong competitors and came up tops.”

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