Wait almost over as Jen McIntosh takes aim for Olympic gold

Jen McIntosh believes the experience of London 2012 will stand her in good stead. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Jen McIntosh believes the experience of London 2012 will stand her in good stead. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

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Edinburgh shooter Jen McIntosh cannot wait to finally head to Rio for the Olympics in a few weeks with her place in Team GB having been confirmed more than seven months ago.

The 25-year-old will line-up in the 50m 3 positions event in Brazil and she has been counting down the days until the big event.

Speaking at Meadowbank where she trains, she said: “I won my place last July for Rio and had it confirmed in November so it has been a long wait and it is great that the event is now not too long away.

“By this point I have just about done all of the training and preparation that I can and I am just desperate to get out to Brazil and compete now.

“Since making sure of my place I have been to Rio for the Test event a few months ago which was helpful to see the surroundings as I have been able to visualise things in training.

“I haven’t been competing in too many other events of late, but have been training a lot and since college finished a few weeks ago the training hours have become even longer.

“Mental strength is the main thing in shooting. When you get to the level of competition that there will be in Rio there will be around 40 of the other 50 competitors who can win the event, so it all comes down to who is mentally toughest on the day.

“I think with the London Olympics, because everyone was saying how big it was and it was a home games, I built it up into this big, massive event.

“Now I am just trying to focus on the process rather than what event it is. I will just be thinking about each shot as I would do in training and taking it one step at a time over there.”

McIntosh, who won two golds and a bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games aged just 19 and added silver and bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, completed her HND in make-up artistry at Edinburgh College last week and she believes the balance between that and her training has helped her.

“Make-up artistry is a bit different from shooting most would say, but it still needs a steady hand,” she stated.

“It has been a really good positive distraction and helps me keep perspective when my shooting is getting me down or training has been going on and on for weeks.

“Usually at training it is just myself and my coach so the college course has been good for getting out and about and meeting people who have taken different paths in life.”

McIntosh’s own path in life was always likely to involve shooting in some shape or form given that both her parents were highly skilled at the sport.

Her mother Shirley is one of Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games athletes, having won four medals, while her father, Donald, is the British national rifle coach and previously competed in a Commonwealth Games.

McIntosh said: “Both of my parents were involved and when I was a kid my mum was still competing at a high level so usually when she was heading down to the range at the Pleasance I would end up tagging along with her and sitting in the club room with my colouring book.

“The range officer would keep an eye on me while mum was training and I first got to pick up a rifle when I was about 10 and I really started taking it up properly when I was 14.

“When you are very young the thing you struggle with is the weight of the rifle and you really just learn the basics early, but I have never looked back.

“Rather than be nervous about heading to my second Olympics in August I am just excited and ready for it.”