A 22-YEAR-OLD Wokingham athlete is shooting for the stars in a bid to achieve her ambition of competing for Great Britain on the international stage.
Yvette White picked up her first gun just two years ago when her Dad brought home an air rifle. And much to her surprise she was hooked after her first session.
“It’s not the type of sport that you fall into. One day I came back from university and my dad had brought an air rifle and I was wondering what was going on, it was a bit of a shock,” said Yvette.
“Then I had a go with it, I shot a 10 on my third shot and from there,it had me hooked.
“I decided to go down with my Dad to where he practised at a target shooting club. They showed me how to use it properly and I progressed quickly. That was in august 2018.”
Yvette was presented with the opportunity to train with England at an academy session just a couple of months into her shooting journey.
“In September I decided to get a proper jacket, continued Yvette.
“When I was there, I got into a conversation with a guy that helps to select the teams for England so I began asking him how to progress in the sport.
“He offered me an opportunity to come along to an academy training session.
“A few weeks later I went down, I really enjoyed it, the coaches were amazing. From there it has flourished. In November I did my first big competition.
“An opportunity came up to go to the Netherlands to do a competition and I thought it was a big step, but I wanted to push myself to find out if I could do it.
“It was my first international competition, in February 2019, and only my third overall competition,it was very nerve wracking but I absolutely loved the atmosphere and being among people who were Olympians and was a really eye opening experience.
“I got a new personal best, which was a big jump on my last best and each day I shot better and better.”
And the opportunities have kept coming Yvette’s way who was then invited to join the Great Britain talent squad after her impressive performances on the international stage.
“We were joined with the Great Britain squad who watched me during the different shoots which I didn’t realise until later on.
“They invited me to a session with the Great Britain talent squad which was awesome, I was smiling from ear-to-ear for the rest of the week.
“I started getting more one-to-one coaching. I competed in Belgium in September 2019, which didn’t go as well.
“I then had the Welsh open in October and I had a blinder of a competition. I got a personal best on day one at 611.9 which was another big jump.
Despite the current season being on hold, Yvette is still keeping her fitness up by training several times a week.
“Air rifle shooting is tricky, you have to stand completely still while holding an almost five kilo rifle for 75 minutes. It’s not easy at all.
“A lot of competitions get very hot too and you get dehydrated easily.
“I shot a 617.8 the next day so that was a brilliant day and was the best moment I’ve had in shooting so far.
“In February I had the British championships and qualified in seventh place.
“If I wasn’t in quarantine, I’d be training up to five or six times a week. Some of that is fitness training as well. I’m trying to keep myself generally fit for when we get back to the season.
“Getting to the Olympics would be the ultimate dream.
“The best way for me to progress at the moment is to focus on the here and now and I’ve found that things have ended up coming my way by being focused.
“I was supposed to be going out to compete in Finland which has been cancelled but we will be going out there when it is rescheduled.
Despite having only competed at the sport for a couple of years, Yvette is delighted with her progress and would encourage anyone who is interested to simply give it a try.
“I would encourage people to google their local range or come down to Burnham Target shooting club.
“It’s a real family atmosphere and those people have become like my family and have supported me.
“You learn such a discipline when it comes to shooting, they have a dangerous element but when you are taught how to use them properly, you become disciplined and sensible.”