Southern athletes shine at Commonwealth Games


INVERCARGILL-BORN shooter Sally Johnston is in search of a repeat of her 2014 Commonwealth Games heroics when she competes on the Gold Coast today.

Johnston will line up in the 50m prone shooting event, an event in which she stunned many in Glasgow four years ago by claiming the gold medal.

Johnston is a born-and-bred Southlander and now lives in Wellington where she works for the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The gold medal in Glasgow came 16 years after she claimed a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

This year’s Gold Coast event is remarkably Johnston’s fifth shot at a Commonwealth Games as she chases another gold medal.

“As a shooter you know that you can win, but you also know there is probably 10 or 12 people who are equally likely to win,” she said.

“It is really tough, there is a really even field in the 50m prone. It can be anybody’s on the day.

“I know I’m in good form, I’m shooting well and I’m capable of winning again. But I also know there are a whole bunch of women out there that want it just as bad as I do.”

Shooting runs in the 47-year-old’s family with her parents, Jenny and Ken, both former New Zealand representatives. Her sister Helen is also a former national junior champion in shooting.

It has already been a golden Commonwealth Games for Southland, with the strong cycling contingent set to return with a swag of medals.

Eddie Dawkins claimed gold as part of the team sprint and picked up a silver medal in the 1000m time trial and bronze in the keirin in an impressive haul.

Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming were brilliant in the women’s sprint events, which included combining for silver in the team sprint.

Hansen also won a silver and bronze medal in the individual sprint and keirin events.

Cumming was impressive in picking up silver in the 500m time trial.

Kristie James was part of the women’s team pursuit, which claimed silver.

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