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In the Press: Olympic shooting hopeful Charlotte Kerwood has had an eventful month

The latest column from MUSTO-sponsored Charlotte Kerwood in the Kent and Sussex Courier is below:

Customs woe is frustrating

Well, it’s fair to say I’ve seen enough of customs in the past month to last me a lifetime!…’

‘My gun was seized when I arrived in Chile and it took a long time to get it released but, thankfully, I eventually made it to the shooting ground with my gun.

In competitions we shoot three rounds of 25 targets, the top six shots then go through to a final round of another 25 targets.  It takes pretty much all day.

My practice went really well and I entered the competition with a clear and confident mind. We started shooting in the World Cup and I was the only one who hit all the targets.

The organisers then spotted a problem with the layout and despite having completed a round they – amazingly – made us start again.

This has never, ever happened before and being in such a strong position, I found it hugely frustrating and got very flustered.  Concentration is vital when shooting and this turn of events affected my form; unfortunately, I couldn’t get my concentration back and eventually finished in 19th.

But we learn from our mistakes and at least that has happened at a World Cup and not at the OlympicsI’m going to work with my sports psychologist to make sure that we prepare properly for this type or situation in the future. However, what happened over the next few days is something that no preparation can prevent.

It started off when I had some issues with customs when I was leaving Chile to head home. The customs officer was being a major pain and I quickly saw that my options were to leave my gun in Chile and have it shipped separately or miss my plane.

After hours of trying to reason with him, I decided to leave my gun in Chile and started to look at a contingency plan if I didn’t get it in time.  Luckily, four days later, it was sent back home.

Before going to Sydney, I changed a few technical aspects of my shot and it felt good.  But when I arrived down in Oz there was another problem with my gun.

The police had written down the wrong serial number and I had to leave my gun at the airport.

I was only allowed to get it at 9pm, the night before official training began.  It took three hours to get to the airport, as there had been an accident. I really didn’t feel prepared at all and came 30th in the shoot.

I have stayed on in Australia after the World Cup and flew down to Melbourne a few days ago to train with some friends here.

The couple I’m staying with shoot.  Russell Mark won gold at the Atlanta Olympics and also silver in Sydney, his wife has completed in the Olympics and won Commonwealth gold medals, so I’m in good company for some good training sessions.

Training has gone well and I’ve been feeling good, ahead of the most recent World Cup event in China. Looking ahead, we have our first trial for the European and World Championship team coming up.  It promises to be a busy period.

Kerwood finished an impressive 15th at the most recent World Cup event in Beijing.

Charlotte Kerwood is an ambassador for performance clothing brand MUSTO.  For more information go to musto.com

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