Olympics: Silver feels 'amazing' says shooter

8:41 pm on 8 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - Winning silver, and New Zealand's first medal at the Rio Olympics, feels amazing, shooter Natalie Rooney says.

Natalie Rooney in action at Rio.

Natalie Rooney in action at Rio. Photo: AFP

The 28-year-old finished second overall in the women's trap semi-finals, and this morning competed in the gold medal match against Australia's Catherine Skinner.

Rio 2016 is the Waimate competitor's first Olympic Games, having narrowly missed out on a place in the London 2012 team.

She has been competing internationally for 10 years, and in 2010 she placed 5th and 7th at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, and 4th at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Rooney said she wasn't going to let this opportunity get away from her.

"It feels amazing... I came 4th at the last Commonwealth Games, I knew what it was like to be close but not to end up medalling so I really wanted to not have that feeling again," she said.

"I felt like I shot very well, I just got a little bit of nerves and rushed my process a little bit."

Chef de Mission Rob Waddell said it was a great effort from the shooter to get New Zealand on to the medal table.

"We're all very proud of what she's done," he said.

"Natalie came into these Games quietly and there wasn't a lot of noise and expectation around what she was going to do here.

"And thankfully, she's quietly backed herself and had that belief and showed us all today... what a wonderful effort."

Rooney's New Zealand-based coach, Gavin Paton, said he first met her when she was in high school.

"She had the ability and the right attitude to achieve. I've seen her go from failing to hit half the targets at practice to winning a gold medal."

Mr Paton said he was excited when he heard the news.

"I've yet to watch it. I've taped it so I can watch it today, we've been working towards this for eight years so it's an excellent result.

"She has spent three months of each of the last three years training in Italy. When she is back home she is always training - it is her life and has been for some time now," Mr Paton said.

Trevor Manson, a past president of the Clay Target Association, said Rooney had worked hard and the medal was a boost for the local shooting community.

"We're so proud of her," he said.

Natalie Rooney with her silver medal for trap shooting.

Natalie Rooney with her silver medal for trap shooting. Photo: AFP

"She's really pushed it hard," he said. "She's been shooting from a very young age."

Her family had been very supportive of her sport. "In actual fact they've got a trap outside their back yard on their local farm in Timaru."

There was little funding for the sport in New Zealand, he said. "She's got a very, very supportive dad that does a lot of that."

Timaru Clay Target Club president Craig Pilcher said it would be great if Natalie's win raised the profile of shooting in New Zealand and for woman.

"We have about 55 members in our club with a ratio of one woman to every eight men, so it would be great if Natalie's success encourages more people to get involved."

Waimate mayor Craig Rowley said the family was well known in the town, where they operated a large earth-moving company, and locals would be delighted at her medal.

"I know that she's worked incredibly hard for it and she's been very unlucky in the past to miss out, so it's absolutely fantastic to see that she's got this far.

"She will be the talk of the town this morning - everyone will be jumping up and down, pretty happy for her.'

Mr Rowley said Waimate held a civic service for her achievements at the Commonwealth Games - and another ceremony could be on the cards when she arrives home from the Olympics.

Mr Pilcher said Rooney's club would also put on a special celebration when she arrived home.

Wins in women's rugby sevens, hockey

In other results, the New Zealand women's rugby sevens team have advanced to the semi-finals with a tense 5-0 win over the United States in this morning's quarter-finals.

The New Zealanders will play Great Britain in tomorrow morning's semi-finals.

New Zealand finished top of their pool after beating France 26-7 in their final group match.

The New Zealanders led 19-7 at half time with tries to Kelly Brazier, Huriana Manuel, Portia Woodman and Kayla McAlister.

The New Zealanders lost Gayle Broughton during the game with a knee injury.

New Zealand's Portia Woodman in action during the match against France.

Portia Woodman in action during the match against France. Photo: AFP

The New Zealand women's hockey team has opened its Olympic campaign with a 4-1 win over South Korea.

The Black Sticks scored first-half goals to Kirsten Webster, Charlotte Harrison and Gemma Flynn, while Petrea Webster added the fourth just after the break. Korea got one back late in the game.

Coach Mark Hager was very happy with the effort although he said his side still had lapses during the game, partly due to the heat taking its toll on the players.

Sally Rutherford was excellent in goal, which which kept them in front, he said.

Hager expected the team's next game against Germany tomorrow to be tough as it would take place during the hottest time of the day.

In the men's hockey, New Zealand drew 2-2 with Great Britain in their second pool match.

The team are yet to win in Rio, losing their first pool match 2-1 to Australia.

In equestrian, New Zealand has dropped back to 6th overall in the team eventing competition, after Clarke Johnstone and Jonelle Price completed their dressage rounds.

Sir Mark Todd is the best-placed in the individual standings at 17th after receiving 44 penalty points in the dressage yesterday.

It's been a disappointing day in the pool for the swimmers, with the country's top medal hope, Lauren Boyle, failing to qualify for the final in the 400m freestyle. She will compete in her favoured event, the 800m freestyle, on Friday.

Matt Stanley also failed to qualify for the semi-finals in the men's 200m freestyle, while Corey Main came 15th overall in the men's 100m backstroke semis and won't compete in the final.

Cyclist Linda Villumsen finished 23rd in the women's road race. But her favoured event, the time trial, is still to come - it will be raced on Thursday.

In the men's kayak slalom, Mike Dawson qualified for the final in 8th place overall, after coming 13th in both of his runs in the heats.

The New Zealand men's doubles pairing of Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus are out of the Olympics after losing their first round Olympic match 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 against Canada.

The third set was closely fought, going all the way to a tie break which the Canadians won 7-6 after coming back from a 2-0 deficit.

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