With the London Olympics upon us, Queanbeyan Age sports reporter Andrew Johnston speaks with local gold medal hope, trap shooter Suzy Balogh in the final part of our three-part Road to London series.
QUEANBEYAN’S Suzy Balogh says she almost retired from competitive shooting last year only to rediscover the form that now sees her on the verge of adding a second Olympic medal to her collection.
After missing selection for both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Dehli, Balogh’s representative career was at a crossroads.
“I was going to retire last January and then I just started to shoot quite brilliantly again,” Balogh says. “I think everything in life just found a balance and I’ve put together an outstanding 18 months.
“I missed out on going to Beijing due to the selection process and since then I’ve really crawled my way back to make sure I’m competing at the highest level in London.
“Shooting is something I do off my own bat, it’s something you have to work very hard at and there’s a lot of satisfaction in that.”
After being sidelined in New Dehli, Balogh made the conscious decision to refocus her efforts solely on Australia’s domestic season, relocating to Sydney to best pursue her London dreams.
For an athlete who has always aspired to the international stage it was a necessary – if not entirely inviting career move.
“I love the big occasions when I shoot,” Balogh says. “I love going to the Olympics and World Cups so when you’re shooting against the same 20 girls every day [on the Australian circuit], it does lose its lustre. I’ve had to work very hard over the past 18 months to get where I am now.”
Despite acknowledging such a path was not her ideal route back into Olympic contention, Balogh’s new-found emphasis on shooting at home duly paid dividends.
After completing 26 selection events leading into London, Balogh finished with twice as many points as the next-best placed competitor and heads into the Games as Australia’s number-one ranked women’s trap shooter.
But although she has a “real intent” of making the final in London, Balogh admits her priorities have changed somewhat since her famous gold medal moment in Athens, eight years ago.
“I don’t know how many athletes get to experience the highest highs and the lows like I have,” Balogh says. “I’ve come to an acceptance in my career that what I really want to achieve isn’t about medals anymore…I truly want to go to London, compete the best I can and have no regrets.
“To know that I’ve given it everything I can and to stay 100 per cent focused for the entire event, that is really the hardest goal to achieve.”
The 2012 Olympic women’s trap competition will be held at London’s Royal Artillery Barracks on Saturday, August 4 with qualification to commence from 9pm (AEST). The Queanbeyan Age and all the Queanbeyan community wishes Suzy the best of luck.