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Heriot-Watt target shooter McIntosh has Gold Coast in her sights

3 July 2017
With a number of PBs and records already achieved this season, things are looking positive for Heriot-Watt University target shooter, Seonaid McIntosh, as she aims to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

With a number of PBs and records already achieved this season, things are looking positive for Heriot-Watt University target shooter, Seonaid McIntosh, as she aims to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The 2018 Gold Coast Games might be ten months away but Heriot-Watt University Electrical Engineering student Seonaid McIntosh has already met the event qualifying standard and spoke to us about the changes that have seen her performances reach a new level this year.

It’s been a good season for the Dollar 21-year-old who says her form is down to a combination of staying healthy, training well and coping better with balancing her various shooting disciplines.

“The season’s been good so far with lots of good performances and PBs in 3P (3 Positions), and my air rifle has finally got a bit of consistency to it,” said Seonaid, whose long list of achievements includes three personal bests in 3P, and the Prone British and Scottish record.

“Last year I was plagued with illness and injury but now I’ve now got a bit of health behind me allowing me to train consistently.

“I’ve also got used to competing in the different events.  It was tiring to begin with because I’d never shot more than one, or sometimes two disciplines at one competition, then suddenly I’ve got three at the same event. 

“But I’ve found it’s been beneficial doing more because it gives me something else to think about rather than just the one.”

Seonaid was a drummer in a double World Championship winning pipe band before she began shooting in earnest when her prolific medal winning older sister, Jennifer, returned from competing in the London 2012 Games.

She made rapid progress, claiming her spot as Team Scotland’s youngest shooter competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

Now, as she looks forward to the possibility of competing at the Gold Coast (her qualifying score is subject to ratification by Commonwealth Games Scotland), she is in the best hands.

Her former Commonwealth Games team shooting father, Donald, is her coach, her sister, Jennifer, is her regular training partner, whilst her mother, four-times Commonwealth Games medallist Shirley, is involved behind the scenes.

“At the time, the Glasgow Games were pretty cool,” recalls Seonaid.  “I was 18, still at school and it was quite nerve wracking being a home games with lots of family and friends there. But I’ve learned from that and I think the Gold Coast should be really exciting if I'm picked.

“My Dad’s my coach and I couldn’t do it without him. Jen’s my training partner and my Mum inputs occasionally.  But Jen really is the biggest influence; we train together every day and obviously she is getting better, so I want to beat her. Then if I get better she wants to beat me.”

Seonaid is one of 150 students supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarships programme for student athletes.

Through the programme she receives funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies.

Eighteen Scottish universities and 25 colleges form the Winning Students network. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated co-ordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively.

“I did mechanical engineering my first two years at university but trying to balance that with shooting was quite tricky because it’s a hard course,” said Seonaid.

“It seems my brain works better with electrical engineering so I swapped to that, and my grades have gone up a lot.  I’m enjoying it a lot more too.

“University give me lots of flexibility.  If we have lab work when I’m due to be away then they move it so I can do it the next week or so. 

“And Winning Students have been a great help too.  Last month I did my exams when I was away competing and they helped me around that.”