Pistol shooter Bailey Groves is desperately trying not to let extensive study commitments affect his aim.
The Launceston 20-year-old is attempting to combine the fourth year of an ocean engineering degree at Australian Maritime College with achieving qualification for next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“I’m still in the mix but ranked one or two spots below where I want to be so would need to show clear improvement and performance and it is hard to keep that up while finishing uni,” Groves explained.
On Monday he flies to Queensland for a test event at the Belmont venue which will host the Commonwealth Games shooting.
Groves has been selected in the Australian pistol team to compete in the men’s 50-metre, 25m rapid fire and 10m air, all of which are on the Games schedule and events in which he has won junior Australian titles.
“I’m happy I made the team having missed the last qualification event because I was too busy at uni and this is a good chance for people who are going to the Games to get familiar with the range.
It would be the biggest achievement of my lifeBailey Groves
“I’m aiming for the air pistol but rapid fire pistol has probably been my highest scoring this year and 50m used to be my main event.”
The test event is combined with the Oceania championships and will be followed by another qualification competition in Brisbane in December after which the Australian Commonwealth Games team is expected to be named.
“I’ll keep telling myself I’ve got a chance to make it and just do as much as I can and take as much experience from it to get ready for the last selection event,” Groves said.
“It would be the biggest achievement of my life to represent my country at such a high-profile event.
“It would be an amazing experience to be able to do it at home and a big step up ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games which is my main focus along with next year’s world championships in South Korea.”
The former Evandale Primary School pupil is a Tasmanian Institute of Sport scholarship holder and member of Van Diemen Pistol Club in Mowbray who plans to move to Western Australia early next year to launch a career in renewable energies technology.
Groves has been to three junior world champs and won a silver medal at the biathlon junior world cup in Germany.