Rachael rising above setback
AS an energetic, positive and ambitious person, Rachael Ross was shattered when she missed selection for this year's Rio Olympics.
It was at the Oceania championships in Sydney late last year that the Springfield Lakes shooter produced a disappointing performance by her high standards.
However, two months later, she's back on top of the world having won a silver medal representing Australia in New Zealand.
She's just returned from the country's competitive national championships staged at Palmerston North.
Ross, 25, finished just four points behind the winner who had been shooting for 25 years.
"I'm a lot better now,'' Ross said, revealing how much last year's setback hurt her.
"The Oceanias was a disaster and I was pretty much sitting there thinking should I keep going or should I just give up.
"I was thinking I had trained so hard and this is the result so am I really cut out for this?''
However, as the normally outgoing sportswoman pondered her sporting future, she received some timely encouragement. It came mainly from Darren Kelly and staff at Maximum Effort Fitness Centre at Springfield.
"The owner of the gym has been really supportive of my training,'' Ross said. "And they helped me with a lot of my physical training so I was having a chat to him about it and they very supportive, just with that mental side of things.''
Ross is delighted with the local boost she received after the Oceania championships, where she shot 12 points lower than she was expecting.
"They could tell straight when I got home I wasn't as cheerful,'' she said.
"They noticed straight away something wasn't quite right.
"He (Kelly) kind of sat me down and said 'you've worked this hard' and just because one competition didn't go the way you wanted it to, you can't just leave it and walk away.
"I had a chat to him and renewed my training and I went to New Zealand and it all came together very well.''
During an interview before the Oceania titles last November, Ross was clearly excited about her future in shooting.
The Singapore-born woman with Indian heritage had become a proud Australian, preparing for her first national team trip.
Her rich personality shone through, as it did again today when she was chatting about her latest championship success.
"The Kiwis were amazing,'' she said, elated about her four-day air rifle competition.
"They were probably the most gracious competitors that I have ever encountered.
"They were so helpful with everything so it was actually the most enjoyable competition I've ever been to.''
That positive result and Ipswich encouragement has Ross keen for more elite competition.
However, she has to wait to see what's next with the Belmont range where she practices about to be demolished in preparation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
"My coach has told me to take two weeks off and then get straight back into it,'' she said.