Jen McIntosh enjoyed a nostalgic trip down the corridors of Edinburgh University’s Pleasance Sports Centre this week, but she is setting her sights on the future.
Named in Scotland’s shooting team for Glasgow 2014, the Edinburgh athlete felt right at home as the media launch took place in the same building where the sport first came to her attention.
As a toddler, she would often be taken along to the Edinburgh University Alumni Shooting club where her dad Donald and mum Shirley went to hone their skills.
Her dad is Scotland’s fourth most-capped marksman and her mum, awarded an MBE for services to the sport, has won four Commonwealth Games medals.
Not that the 22-year-old is standing in their shadows. There is the small matter of three Commonwealth Games medals won at Delhi as a teenager in 2010 – 50m rifle prone individual gold, 50m rifle prone pairs gold and 50m rifle three-positions pairs bronze. “My mum and dad both shot here when they were at university and when they were in the Alumni club,” she recalls.
“This is where my mum did most of her training so it’s kind of weird coming back. It’s changed a bit since I was five – it’s a magnificent building.
Close to 100 per cent of athletes view a home Games as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but this may not prove to be the case for McIntosh.
The youngest member of the Great Britain shooting team at London 2012, she still has time on her side. Alford’s Shona Marshall – also named in the Scotland team this week – will be 50 when she competes next year.
“With a sport like shooting, it’s maybe only when you reach your 70s that you can’t compete. If you think back to 2006, Sheena Sharp was in her 50s and she won two gold medals in Melbourne,” she explains.
“There’s not really an upper age-limit to this so it might not be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But certainly having a home Olympics back to back with a home Commonwealth Games is never likely to happen again in my career.”
She was disappointed with the way things turned out at London 2012, where she was never really in contention, but puts it all down to experience and knows next year offers a chance to add to her Commonwealth medal tally.
“London was a mixed bag for me. My performances weren’t great, so I was quite disappointed with that and it’s taken a while to come to terms with it but I’m getting there,” she outlines.
“But the experience itself was fantastic – it’s just the Olympics and nothing tops it.
“I put in a decent performance, but I just wasn’t good enough, basically. It comes down to not being experienced enough, not being technically strong enough and I just need more work done.
“I had some time out since then. I had an ear infection which made me a bit dizzy – which was not good for shooting – and it took me a while to get back into it.
“I’ve started to get back this year but it’s been slow. Usually, I get a decent amount of training in over the winter and I didn’t get that, so I’ve been playing catch-up, but it’s quite reassuring that I’ve still made the Commonwealth Games team when I’m not shooting to my full potential. It’s also frustrating because I know I should be doing a whole lot better.
“It’s terrifying it’s only nine months away, but it’s exciting – being selected so early doesn’t change much for me. The goal has always been to go to the Commonwealth Games and win medals. Being selected for the team is just a process I have to go through to get there. It will not change what my preparations are.
“It brings a lot of outside pressure, having won medals in Delhi, but my attitude has always been that nobody puts more pressure on me than myself.
“My expectations are the highest that anyone could possibly expect of me.
“There’s more media interest – people ask me because I’ve won medals in Delhi, how many do I expect to win in Glasgow. I always reply that it’s complicated.
“Winning in Delhi does bring its challenges but it’s quite nice going into the Games as a contender.
“I’m a very competitive person and expect a lot of myself, some would say too much, but it’s no bad thing.”