Hot-shot Sybrand takes aim in Nanjing | SASCOC - SASCOC

Hot-shot Sybrand takes aim in Nanjing

By Mark Etheridge
in Nanjing, China

Amanzimtoti’s Sybrand Laurens will be aiming for greatness in the shooting event at the Youth Olympic Games here on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old takes part in the 10m air rifle (60 shots) competition and he’s the only shottist representing Team South Africa in China.

Saturday saw him in another training session at the impressive Fanshan venue on the outskirts of this giant city, under the watchful eye of coach/manager Pepe Morton.

The training venue can accommodate up to 80 bays or firing points and practising shottists were allocated time slots.

‘I’ve been shooting since I was nine, basically half my life,’ said Laurens, originally from Brakpan on Gauteng’s East Rand but now a Grade 11 pupil at Kuswag Hoër Skool.

‘My father has hunted all his life and we still go up to my grandfather’s farm up near Nelspruit.’

Shooting is not a cheap sport. The weapons (effectively an up-market and expensive pellet gun) used to shoot at the tiny targets, cost anything from R22 000 and most come from Germany.

Laurens shoots with an Anschutz, and has had his for around four years. These days, a top of the range weapon will set a shottist back around R50 000.

And then there’s the shooting suit used to give shottists stability on the firing line. That also comes in around the R15 000 mark.

The youngster qualified at the Africa Championships in Egypt earlier this year. ‘The qualfiying criteria meant that I had to get gold to earn my spot here.’

A perfect score in his event would be 655. ‘My scores average about 604 or thereabouts. The world best is around the 640 mark,’ he says.

And what would he be hoping for on Wednesday? ‘Expect the worst and hope for the best!’ was his reply.

‘Looking around at the scores in practice, though, I definitely shouldn’t be last,’ he grinned.

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