Cardiff University student Coral Kennerley is preparing for her second taste of the Commonwealth Games after being selected for Team Wales ahead of Gold Coast 2018.
Kennerley, a mechanical engineering student, represented her country at the Glasgow 2014 games and will now head to Australia in April.
Her selection was the culmination of several years of hard work to secure her team place – and she is now determined to make the most of the chance to battle for a medal.
“I was happy and relieved more than anything,” Kennerley said after her selection.
“I’ve worked hard for the past four years since Glasgow and I knew the competition was tough to make the team for the Gold Coast.
“Even though I had exceeded the qualification standards it was no guarantee I’d be in the team. Standards are getting increasingly higher generally so I’m not expecting an easy ride out there.
“I have the experience of the Glasgow games behind me and we also went out to Australia for a test event in the Gold Coast venue last November so the range won’t be completely new to me.
“The atmosphere of the Commonwealth Games will be completely different to the test event, but I’m looking forward to it!”
Kennerley is one of three current Cardiff University students who will be heading to the Gold Coast, with cyclist Lewis Oliva also selected for Wales and rifle shooter Dean Bale set to represent England.
They are all part of the Cardiff Uni Sport High Performance Programme which has supported them through their studies – and Kennerley says their support has been vital.
She commented: “Cardiff Uni sport have been a massive help to my shooting and studies. They have helped me progress in my shooting career by helping facilitate me missing exams/assessments to enable me to compete and train abroad.
“The extra support they give me to enhance my shooting including different workshops throughout the year are helpful and it’s good to meet others on the high performance programme that are doing a similar thing, studying and competing at a high level in their sport.
“Studies have definitely clashed at times, but it has worked out pretty well. The Glasgow games fell at the end of my first year at university (which was a foundation year).
“I then had to carefully plan how I was going to organise my studies to fit in with vital competitions and training camps to be able to qualify for the Gold Coast and then be able to actually go to the Gold Coast when selected.
“I ended up splitting my second year in two years allowing me time to compete and train. I’m currently doing a year in industry with JN Bentley, who have been extremely supportive allowing me to take time out to go to the Games – so in the end it has all worked out quite well, and I will hopefully graduate one day!”
Kennerley had an intriguing path into the sport, originally falling into shooting because of her involvement with horse riding.
“It all began from the pony club,” she revealed. “I have always had horses at home and the pony club do a sport called Tetrathlon which is shooting, swimming, running and cross country horse riding.
“I really enjoyed tetrathlon but the shooting was my strongest element, (running definitely being my weakest!) so my shooting coach encouraged me to try precision shooting which is what I do now.
“I enjoyed it and opportunities kept arising for me to progress step by step and now here I am!”
After falling into pistol shooting, Kennerley has clearly made the most of her talent and will be on the hunt for the biggest result of her career in the Gold Coast in a few weeks’ time.