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Vella and Iles target more trap shooting history in Rio

7 July 2016

SHOOTING: Adam Vella and Mitchell Iles will be aiming to add to Australia’s long history of trap shooting success when they hit the range in Rio.

With Athens 2004 bronze to his name, Vella is set to shoot at his third Olympic Games while 17-year-old Iles will make his Olympic debut in Rio - inspired by his famous grandfather.

The duo round-out the 18-strong shooting section of the Australian Olympic Team, which have high hopes of getting onto the podium at the Olympic Shooting Centre.

“The goal for Rio is to medal and that is what I have been working towards,” Vella said.

“What colour medal I’m not sure but I’ll take any colour.”

Vella’s selection was finalised after the appeals process for the two trap shooting positions was finalised.

“It’s been a bit of a process but I’m definitely looking forward to my third Olympic Games.”

The 45-year-old from Melbourne has been shooting on the international stage for over two decades and has a trophy cabinet full of World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Continental and Australian medals - to go with his prized Olympic bronze. 

He secured qualification to his third Games after a strong 12months of shooting which included winning the Oceania Championship in late 2015 and some strong recent results against many of the shooters he’ll line up alongside in Rio.

“I’ve been really happy with my form heading into Rio.

“At the final two World Cups before the Games I managed to be equal sixth following qualification so it has been a good run up.”

While he been back from the Baku World Cup for a couple of weeks the weather back home hasn’t been the best to train in.

“I’ve now got a week of training in Darwin which will be good because Melbourne isn’t great at the moment.

“Then I’m back home for a week to say my goodbyes and get everything finalised before heading to Rio.”

While Vella has just about done it all his trap shooting teammate is just starting out his promising career.

Iles will continue the strong tradition of shooting success in the family after his grandfather Billy Iles achieved domestic and international success during his esteemed shooting career.

He heads to his first Games excited to build on his family’s tradition.

“It’s an unreal feeling to make Rio,” said Iles.

“Every kid dreams about it and now my dreams have come true.

“I began watching my grandfather when I was three or four and then followed him into the sport when I was twelve. I’m proud to have followed in his footsteps.”

Iles has burst onto the scene in the past year with a number of world class scores both in Australia and overseas.

He scored a fifth place finish at the 2015 Junior World Championships and has shot a world class qualification score of 122 twice along with a 121.

“I’m pretty happy with how I’ve been shooting recently. At the last World Cup I went to in San Marino I scored 117/125 in qualification to be just a couple of shots from the final.

“In Rio I’d really like to put a decent score on the board in the qualification and then hopefully that will get me into the final.”

Iles is aiming to make the most of his first Olympic experience and is counting down the days until he dons the Australian blazer and walks into Maracanã Stadium with the rest of the Australian Olympic Team.

“I’m definitely planning on being a part of the Opening Ceremony.

“It’ll be something different but something I’m looking forward to being a part of.”

Australia has won four gold, one silver and five bronze medals in Olympic shooting competition, with four of these 10 medals in the Trap event. Rio 2016 bound Warren Potent was Australia’s last Olympic medallist when he finished third at the Beijing 2008 Games.

The shooting competition runs from the opening day of the Rio 2016 Games (August 6) and runs through to Day 9 (August 14). Qualification for Vella and Iles’ trap event is on Day 2 (August 7) with the six-man final scheduled for Day 3 (August 8).

These two athletes take the overall 2016 Australian Olympic Team to 303 from 22 sports, with an expected final Team of around 410 athletes. Complete biographies on all selected athletes here>>>

Matt Bartolo

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