Local shooter days away from trip to Australia - Jan. 03, 2013
Peter Acheson, president of the Scoodic Fish and Game Club, right, presents a cheque for $2,000 to Emily Dean of St. Stephen to assist her in getting to the Youth Olympic Festival scheduled for mid January in Australia. Dean, from St. Stephen, is one of three shooters representing Canada at the event.
Emily Dean is on the cusp of something she’s wanted so badly. Although she hasn’t been an air-rifle shooter for long, her rapid rise in the sport has led her to hope for some time she could represent her country. She’s days away from going to Australia, where she will do so for the first time. Getting there, however, creates less cause for enthusiasm.
“Twenty-three, 24 hours of flying isn’t the greatest for someone who can barely handle takeoff,” said Dean. “I used to love it, then I had a big gap between flying, and it just started to freak me out.”
If everything goes according to plan, Dean will have to get used to hurtling through the skies more often. Dean is currently a member of Canada’s development team, one notch below the Canadian national air rifle team, and one notch above the junior program, where one would typically see someone like the 15-year-old Dean.
Dean got the call up to compete for Canada at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in December because another competitor dropped out. That gave her very little time to raise money for the event, but the community has come through.
According to Dean’s mother, Julie Dean, more than $6,000 has been raised so far. The bulk of that came in two large contributions. Sport NB has supplied Emily with $3,000, and recently the Scoodic Fish and Game Club have helped the fellow shooter out with a $2,000 donation. The rest has come from individuals and businesses who have contributed what they can to make her trip a success.
Julie said raising that kind of money on short notice during Christmas was a challenge, but a challenge they knew they just had to take on. “If she didn’t go, it would always be ‘what if’ for the rest of her life,” said Julie.
The forthcoming trip also made Christmas much different for Emily. “Pretty much, I put relaxing out of the way and train, train, train,” said Emily. “It feels amazing, there’s one minute of being so excited and then the next of ‘holy crap.’”
Training has been going well for Emily, and boosting her confidence. During training over the holiday, she posted a perfect score of 100, only the second time she’s done so since taking up the sport. That kind of result, Emily said, is something she’s going to try and keep in the forefront of her mind when she’s competing at the Olympic facilities in Sydney.
“It definitely gives you self confidence that you can do that, and when you walk in you know it’s not totally impossible.”
Emily’s has set up a Twitter account (@emilykdean22) so that anyone interested can be kept updated on her results and experiences from Down Under. There will also be updates available on the St. Croix Sportsman Club’s Facebook page.
Emily takes off from Canada on Jan. 13. On the other side lies a chance she’s been hoping to get since shortly after she picked up a rifle. Facing a new level of competition with the possibility of a good performance serving as a platform for her ascension in the air rifle world, that should be enough to make a 15-year-old nervous. Far from it, it’s not the destination or the need to execute that makes her nervous, it’s the trip across the water that worries her the most.