Dane Sampson

Dane Sampson

Dane Sampson followed in his parents’ footsteps when he started shooting at the age of 12. Long having dreamed of representing Australia at the Olympics, he also had a desire to travel and saw sport as a means to see the world.

Growing up, Sampson perfected his craft at the Commercial Shooting Club in Brisbane. He was encouraged by his Aunty who represented Australia at a Shooting World Championships and drove him to competitions.

Sampson made his Olympic debut at London where he finished 37th in the 50metres rifle 3 Position, 48th in the 50m Rifle Prone and 42nd in the 10m Air Rifle.

He competed at his first Commonwealth Games in 2014 and made the finals in the three rifle events. His best result came in the 50m Rifle Prone where he placed fourth as teammate Warren Potent won the gold.

Competing at Rio in his second Olympic Games, Sampson improved his results in each of the three events as he claimed 20th in the 50m Rifle 3 Position, 31st in the 50m Rifle Prone and 37th in the 10m Air Rifle.

At his second Commonwealth Games in 2018, he won a gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle, finished seventh in the 50m Rifle 3 Position and 12th in the 50m Rifle Prone. Sampson was delighted to win the gold medal at his home range.

That year he became the first Australian to make a World Championships final of a Rifle 3 Position.

Sampson continued to build towards Tokyo 2020 and clinched a quota spot for Australia when he finished fourth at the 2019 World Cup Final. He secured his third Olympic Games start after claiming Australia’s number one ranking in the four-round 10m Air Rifle selection series.

In Tokyo he competed in the men’s 10 metre air rifle, the men’s 50 metre rifle three positions event, and the mixed 10 metre air rifle team events. He did not score sufficient points in either event to advance past qualification

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

For Natalie Smith, being a Paralympian is an honour beyond words. Instead, she showed what the opportunity means to her by winning the Australian Paralympic Team’s first medal of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Natalie contested two events in London, and after placing fourth in the qualification round of the women’s 10m air rifle standing R2 SH1, she produced the performance of a lifetime to clinch bronze in the final with a score of 492.4.

This result was all the more incredible given that Natalie had only started competing in Para-shooting two years earlier, after an injury while hiking in Australia’s Top End in 2009 left her a paraplegic. As someone who had always enjoyed an active lifestyle, with a penchant for wakeboarding and skydiving, Natalie immediately began looking for a new sport more suited to her mobility as a wheelchair user. She gave Para-shooting a go at a Paralympics Australia Talent Search Day in July 2010, and the rest, as they say, is history.

At the 2016 International Paralympic Committee Shooting World Cup in Al Ain, UAE, Natalie secured a sensational victory over Paralympic and world champion Veronika Vadovicova (SVK) in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions R8 SH1, and won a bronze medal in the mixed 10m air rifle prone R3 SH1 with Libby Kosmala and Anton Zappelli.

Although Natalie’s fine form ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games did not convert into another podium finish, she was one of the Australian Para-shooting team’s top-performing athletes at the Games, recording a best result of fifth place in the women’s 10m air rifle standing R2 SH1.

Natalie was selected for her third Paralympic Games when she earned a spot in Australia’s three-person Tokyo 2020 Para-shooting Team. In the R2 women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event, she finished in 19th position with a score of 609.4. She then teamed with Anton Zappelli in the R3 mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 event, finishing in 46th place with a score of 631.7.

Glen McMurtrie

Athlete Profile - Glen McMurtrie

Glen was first introduced to target shooting after a chance encounter with Australian Para shooting legend Ashley Adams.

Six years after acquiring paraplegia in a dirt bike accident, Glen was driving wearily along a quiet rural road when he phoned a hotel in the next town and asked for a wheelchair-accessible room. There was one available, but when Glen arrived at the hotel a short time later, he was told that it was occupied. The occupant – Ashley Adams.

The two men initially had little in common. Glen had not played sport since his accident, but over dinner and a few beers, Ashley’s spirited and unique stories about his shooting exploits inspired Glen to give it a go.

Ashley sold Glen a rifle and told him everything that he needed to know. He taught him strategy and about competing. He also introduced him to other shooting experts, including best mate Jonas Jacobsson (SWE), the all-time record holder for most Paralympic medals won.

Less than a year later, the Paralympic movement was rocked when Ashley tragically passed away in a quad bike accident on his farm. But part of his enduring legacy lives on through Glen, who represented Australia for the first time at the 2017 International Paralympic Committee Shooting World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, and has since climbed the world rankings, achieving a silver medal and an excellent top five result at the 2018 World Shooting Para-sport World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea.