Straight shooter aiming for world event

Kenn Oliver
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Brenda Greene isn't the best Olympic style marksman this province has produced. But at the rate the 21-year-old St. Joseph's, St. Mary's Bay native is progressing on the international level, there's a good chance she will be in the not-too-distant future.

We know in the air rifle event, she's definitely the best shooter we've produced, says her sometimes- coach, sometimes-teammate Dave Woolridge, a two-time member of the national team and arguably the only other shooter from this province to garner as much attention in the sport.

Brenda Greene. Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Brenda Greene isn't the best Olympic style marksman this province has produced. But at the rate the 21-year-old St. Joseph's, St. Mary's Bay native is progressing on the international level, there's a good chance she will be in the nottoo-distant future.

We know in the air rifle event, she's definitely the best shooter we've produced, says her sometimes- coach, sometimes-teammate Dave Woolridge, a two-time member of the national team and arguably the only other shooter from this province to garner as much attention in the sport.

Top athlete

But there's no question that she should be considered one of the top athletes in the province historically as well. I know where she fits into her competition stream within Canada and she's at the top of that. She's done really well for herself.

Her most recent accomplishments came at the International Shooting Competition of Hannover in Germany and the 40th Grand Prix of Liberation in Plzen, Czech Republic. In Hannover, she broke her own provincial record in the women's 10-metre air rifle event by two points with a 387 out of a possible 400.

The result put her in the top half of all competitors. And last week in Plzen, she finished 41st out of 85 in the 50-metre rifle prone event with a 584/600.

The ones at the top of that list, almost guaranteed, are part of some country's armed forces in their marksmanship development school. In Canada, it's much more of an amateur sport, Woolridge said.

That's a big accomplishment to come in the top half or near it in her event, because she's not paid to shoot eight hours a day, five days a week.

Unlike Canada, where we have a Canadian Armed Forces Conceil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) team and a separate civilian national squad, most of the athletes on the Grand Prix circuit are members of their respective country's armed forces teams.

Those same athletes are predominantly the ones representing their country at the

Olympics.

Greene, who shot into the sport after joining the 2895 Enright Memorial Royal Canadian Army Cadets at St. Catherine's Academy, was selected to Canada's CISM development team open only to military personnel after her results from circuit stops in Europe last summer got her noticed.

It's a chance to get international experience and to shoot against people that have been Olympic champs or are going to be. It's all about the calibre of competition, Greene insists.

In a couple of weeks time, she'll head to Fort Benning, Georgia for the CISM trials. If she shoots well there, she'll earn a spot on the team for this year's CISM World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia in August.

The CISM route, while not leading directly to an Olympic berth, is the path of least resistance for Greene. With her skill, Woolridge says, she has the capability to be a significant shooter on the Shooting Federation of Canada teams, if she so desired.

But because of the financial limitations, she wouldn't have the exposure to higher levels of competition that CISM affords.

If she had gone the SFC route and went into the World Cup circuit, which is another place where Olympic calibre shooters train, she'd essentially be on her own. Because of financial limitations, she wouldn't get the exposure to the high level of competition that she's going to get now.

The hope is Greene will maintain a spot with the CISM team for the next couple of years to garner the experience necessary against high level athletes to make the move to the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) circuit so

that one day she can fulfill any Olympic aspirations.

If things don't go her way in Georgia, Greene will attend the Canadian Small

Bore Nationals in Calgary later this summer to compete for a spot on the national civilian team which will give her the chance to attend World Cup competitions and, down the road, compete for an on Canada's Olympic shooting

squad.

While most assume the sport is as simple as aiming and pulling the trigger, the reality is it involves a great deal of strength and conditioning training. With a rifle that weighs 12 pounds and sometimes held for up to two hours at a time during a competition, it can challenge the shooter.

Not so much for Greene, who trains out of the Frank Zahn High Performance Marksmanship and CSCA Training Facility at MUN.

I don't notice because I'm six-feet tall. The other key to a successful marksman is mastering the mental aspect of the sport, what Greene considers the more crucial component.

We work on refocus techniques and come up with plans. It's kind of preparing yourself for the worst and ensuring sure you have a strategy to combat it.

Working on focusing, blocking out all the people behind you, all the competitors next to you and focus on what you're doing one shot at a time.

Greene, who played basketball through her high school days, says shooting is far different in every way. On the hardwood, your game can affect the game, but on the range it's you against yourself.

There's nothing you can do to affect the person shooting next to you. You have no control over them, so all you have to worry about is yourself.

Organizations: Shooting Federation of Canada, Canadian Armed Forces Conceil, Enright Memorial Royal Canadian Army Cadets International Shooting Sports Federation Canadian Small

Geographic location: Canada, Plzen, Germany Czech Republic Hannover Georgia Catherine Europe Fort Benning Zagreb Croatia Calgary

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