Calm Rachael on target for Rio Olympics
WHEN she's not trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics, Rachael Ross is proudly promoting Australia and her adopted state.
She works with the Queensland Department of Trade.
Ross has studied Chinese, psychology and politics, having a passion for teaching.
The Springfield Lakes sportswoman has many talents, being born in Singapore and with Indian heritage from her grandparents.
Two of the competitive shooter's qualities to quickly emerge are her calm nature and an appreciation for her new home.
"Australia was the country that gave me the tools to get to where I am now,'' Ross, 25, said.
"I feel like all the skills I have developed have all come from here and should be used here.''
In a racially sensitive environment, Ross projects a delightful personality being proud to be Australian.
She is becoming a fine ambassador as she represents the Australian team for the first time at the Oceania Continental Championships in Sydney.
"I am now an Australian citizen, keen to bring home the gold for this amazing country that has done so much to help me grow as a person and an athlete,'' she said.
The Ipswich shooter had only been back competing for two months when she was invited to represent her country at next week's Olympic qualifying tournament.
She is contesting the 10m air rifle competition on December 1.
"My aim was to get on the team by next August,'' the affable all-rounder said. "So when I got the phone call from the national coach, I was really surprised.''
Her upbringing, diverse skills and passion for Australia clearly impressed the right people.
"I'm quite calm actually,'' she said.
"Initially my goal was to be competitive for the Commonwealth Games (on the Gold Coast in 2018).
"I wasn't even looking at Rio because I didn't think I'd be ready.
"So far so good.''
Ross was introduced to shooting in Singapore by her father, who was in the military.
"I did pretty well there. Dad was really excited,'' she recalled. "It all went from there.''
Ross made the Australian junior team after moving to Ipswich with her family. She studied year 11 and 12 at St Augustine's College.
"It was brilliant. They were a huge support for my training,'' Ross said of her time at the college.
The reason Ross was away from competitive shooting for seven years was due to her international study stint that followed. She was based in Beijing.
"I got a scholarship to study overseas and I couldn't say no to it,'' she said.
"The gun laws in China made it a bit complicated to bring a firearm over there to train.''
Since returning to the sport, she's been practicing at the Belmont range every day, up to five hours at a time, depending on her work demands.
At the Queensland Department of Trade, she encourages international students to come to Queensland. She also assists with tourism marketing campaigns.
Hearing her talk fondly of our seafood is one of the reasons she enjoys "showcasing'' what Queensland offers.
"I love my job,'' she said.
In Sydney, her 10m air rifle indoor competition starts with a 40 shot match, with the top 10 moving into a shoot-off style final.
With next week's tournament her last chance to qualify for Rio, Ross is treating the competition at the Sydney International Shooting Centre with a single-minded purpose.
"It's a very important event,'' she said. "It's very exciting.''
About 200 athletes from eight nations are expected to compete, representing Australia, Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and New Zealand.
- Achievement: Selected on the Australian shooting team, hoping to qualify for next year's Rio Olympics.
- Lives: Springfield Lakes. Attended: St Augustine's College at Springfield before studying in China.
- Major shooting competition successes: Queensland champion a few times; was part of the Australian team that finished second at the Arafura Games in Darwin.
- Qualities of a good shooter: "You have to be calm and be able to deal with your emotions very well; and you have to be completely dedicated.''
- Favourite food: "Absolutely everything. Being in Queensland, you have really good access to seafood so that's probably top of the list.''