BY SALONEE MISTRY
Wracked by uncertainty that was fuelled by delay, the nervous wait to discover who made the team ended for the sport shooter when the national coach called her.
“I underperformed at the Olympic trials, so I was really disappointed with my performance,” Scanlan said.
“However, I had a stellar 2019 international season and was ranked number two in the world.
“I think the selectors had confidence in my ability to perform on the world stage when it counted.”
At the age of 15, Scanlan was introduced to clay target shooting by her father, as a bonding exercise for them.
Opportunities continued to present themselves to Scanlan as she invested more time and commitment, and is now thankful the sport has helped her to grow as an athlete and a person.
An important skill any Olympic athlete needs is the ability to adapt and refocus, something that has been particularly important this time around.
On March 24, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach joined the Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo to issue a statement in which they announced their decision to postpone the games, given the health concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
It was decided to reschedule the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo to after 2020 but before summer 2021.
“This year is unlike any other we have faced. It’s unpredictable and rapidly evolving due to factors out of our control,” Scanlan said.
“Due to the current restrictions in place with travel and training I have set small goals to keep me busy and occupied which accumulate into one big end goal.”
“I’m comfortable with my individual plan to keep me as prepared as possible, but it’s a lot more out of the box thinking,” she admits.
This will be Scanlan’s second Olympic attempt, and she will be competing in the mixed team trap event with her Olympic partner James Willet, who was also selected to represent Australia in Tokyo.
Scanlan met Willet on the shooting circuit years ago and have been partnering up for the past two years in team competitions.
“I respect James so much as an athlete and he is a great teammate,” Scanlan said.
“We are like Yin and Yang but we work really well together.”
“When I compete with James, I have 100 per cent confidence in him because I know how much work he puts in on and off the range.”
Each of them was placed fifth in their individual events at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Although Scanlan had planned her whole Olympic four-year cycle on the games being held this year, she quickly adapted to the changing situation.
Her biggest challenge preparing for this Olympic season has been travel restrictions, which have meant little to no competing or international preparation.
The duo hope to go to the Olympics, perform at their best and win.
Being experienced shooters and having shot numerous events together, including winning the World Championships, they are well aware how the other operates under pressure and will use this to their advantage.
Scanlan has always aspired to be a positive role model for females in non-mainstream male-dominated sports and wants to use the opportunities she gets to spread a positive message to women in sport.
She most recently won the 2020 Commonwealth Championships, and prior to that bagged gold at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as well.
In 2010, she won the trap pairs gold at the Commonwealth Games, but narrowly missed out on an Olympics debut in London in 2012.
“I have a feeling that ‘Tokyo 2020NE’ will be an Olympics to remember,” Scanlan said.
“It will be even more special than usual and I believe it will be a symbol of hope, as a celebration of sport and nations coming together after a trying 2020, and for that I am excited.”
The Tokyo Olympics are now scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.