Cessnock Pistol Club member Olivia Erickson selected in Shooting Australia national pathway squad

TALENT: Cessnock Pistol Club member Olivia Erickson has been identified a rising star of the sport with selection in the national pathways squad.
TALENT: Cessnock Pistol Club member Olivia Erickson has been identified a rising star of the sport with selection in the national pathways squad.

Olivia Erickson wants to follow in the footsteps of Cessnock Pistol Club's Olympians, Daniel Repacholi and Blake Blackburn.

And she's on the right track.

Erickson, 18, has been selected in Shooting Australia's National Pathway Squad on the back of some impressive results and her commitment to the sport.

She has her sights set on an Olympic debut at the 2024 Games in Paris.

The Rutherford resident took up the sport at age 13 and was quickly identified as a promising talent.

Less than three years later, she represented Australia at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Argentina, placing 14th in the girls' 10-metre air pistol.

Erickson described the Youth Olympics as "the most excellent experience".

"Being a multi-sport event, it was vastly different from shooting-only events," she said.

"Having that experience has allowed me to prepare for another world championships or even an Olympics."

Erickson completed her HSC at St Joseph's Lochinvar last year, and is now juggling her shooting commitments with university studies and part-time work.

While current restrictions will likely prevent travel to international competitions this year, Erickson has turned her focus to the upcoming national championships, which will be held in Queensland in April.

She trains under Steve Blackburn at Cessnock and national coach Vladimir Galiabovitch, and recently brought home two gold medals from the state championships in Wagga Wagga.

While her collection is ever-growing, Erickson says she's not necessarily in the sport for the medals.

"It's about the experience and the journey, and the friendship," she said.

"The people are amazing, everyone supports each other.

"And I've learned a lot of life lessons and discipline.

"But winning an Olympic gold would be something to add to the collection."

READ MORE:

Erickson is one of seven pistol shooters chosen in the pathway squad, which is part of Shooting Australia's new three-tiered national squad, alongside high-performance and performance squads.

ON TARGET: Cessnock Pistol Club member Olivia Erickson has been selected in Shooting Australia's National Pathways Squad. Picture: Krystal Sellars

ON TARGET: Cessnock Pistol Club member Olivia Erickson has been selected in Shooting Australia's National Pathways Squad. Picture: Krystal Sellars

The new squad structure replaces the former Aiming 4 Gold Squad, and includes 54 able and para-shooting athletes across the pistol, rifle and shotgun disciplines.

Repacholi, who is set to compete at his fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo this year, was named in the performance squad, which is for athletes who are regularly achieving national selection and are on track to making finals and win medals in international competitions.

Shooting Australia CEO, Luke van Kempen, said the selected athletes will benefit significantly from access to a range of opportunities and resources that are geared towards them reaching their full performance potential.

"For the athletes, selection comes with an expectation of a high level of commitment and a willingness to work hard in training and competition, as well as regularly engaging with national team coaching and support staff," he said.

"One of the most important benefit for selected athletes is the opportunity to participate in an athlete planning sessions with the national coach and/or pathway manager.

"This process allows athletes to look at where they currently sit in relation to the world's best and develop an individual performance plan, identifying strengths and development opportunities."