WITH nearly all sport on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bendigo clay target shooter Oliver Boucher can at least console himself with the knowledge that he delivered a gold medal-winning performance at his most recent major event appearance.
The 16-year-old claimed the junior triples title at the New Zealand Down-the-line (DTL) Championships in Christchurch earlier this month.
Boucher, a Girton Grammar student, was competing at the New Zealand nationals for the fourth time.
"I've picked up (a medal) every time I've gone there," he said.
"It's very tough competition, especially this year as we had a few more Aussies going over.
"There were two incredibly good shots in the juniors, who were in the open Mackintosh team, which is Australia versus New Zealand."
Contested over seven days, the New Zealand nationals attracted more than 350 competitors.
His junior triples win (a combination of double-barrel, points score and single barrel) followed on from his impressive performance late last year at the Victorian Clay Target Association State Carnival.
Boucher finished second in the state handicap 50 target and won the overall junior high gun.
"It's been a really good 12 months for me, but I would have loved to have kept it going," he said in reference to the cancellation of sports shooting events in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
"Just after the New Zealand nationals, we were going to have a week's break and then the Aussie nationals were going to kick-off in Wagga Wagga.
"They had to pull the pin on those pretty quickly.
"(The sport) has put a complete pause on things - even the local club (Bendigo Clay Target Club) is closed."
Boucher went into self-isolation on his return from New Zealand, putting his studies on hold.
His father Terry also experienced success in Christchurch by claiming the veterans single barrel title and finishing third overall.
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