Veteran remains a Potent force in shooting

FIFTH GAMES: Australian sport shooter Warren Potent.
FIFTH GAMES: Australian sport shooter Warren Potent. DAN HIMBRECHTS

SHOOTER Warren Potent has already been knocked off his perch before getting to the Rio Olympics, but he is quite happy about it.

The selection of 61-year-old dressage rider Mary Hanna means she will be Australia’s oldest competitor at the Games, supplanting the 54-year-old from New South Wales.

“I suppose no one can pick on me now, which is good,” Potent told Australian Regional Media.

Age, though, does not worry the laid-back rifleman.

In fact, he is the shooting team’s best chance of winning gold in what will be his fifth Games.

An Olympic bronze medallist at Beijing in 2008, Potent was crowned world champion as recently as 2014 in Spain – a first for Australia in rifle shooting.

He backed that up by claiming silver at World Cup events in Bangkok and Rio earlier this year.

“My preparation has all been pretty good … pretty much the same as it was in 2008 when I got a bronze,” he said, before adding that any one of about 25 shooters could win the 50m rifle prone event.

“If it’s your day in our sport, you might get to the final. If it really is your day, you might get to the podium.

“I don’t get a feeling, but the coach (Petr Kurka) usually reckons he can tell when I’m going to have a good day. I have no idea, but he reckons he can see the concentration in my face or something.

“I remember two years ago when I won the world championship, to me it was just another day, another competition, but he reckoned he could tell that I was going to perform really well.”

Potent, who remembers watching on television as swimmer Shane Gould competed at the 1972 Munich Olympics, took up shooting in 1980 and only just missed selection for the 1988 Seoul Games.

He took a break from the sport between 1990 and 1997 after buying a small business and finding himself “having less that I thought I was going to have”.

Having finally made his Olympic debut at Sydney in 2000, Potent is proud to have been selected for every Games since.

“It (a fifth and most likely last appearance) is something I planned a long time ago, and I’ve been able to achieve that,” he said.

“If I can finish by getting on the podium … it’s certainly not out of the question.”

Potent will also be on hand to help guide youngsters such as skeet shooter Aislin Jones, who will be 16 years and 179 days old when the Games start, making her Australia’s youngest shooter to compete at an Olympics.

“When they ask for advice, I give them a hand here and there,” Potent said.

“You don’t want to give too much away though, you know that.”

Topics:  rio2016

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