Thomas Armstrong is on a fast track to success in the sport of shooting.
The 17-year-old’s first competition was less than three years ago, but he has already represented Victoria at the national championships and Australia on the international stage and is one of Werribee Victorian Clay Target Shooting Club’s most promising youngsters.
“I seem to have progressed in the sport pretty quickly,” Armstrong said. “I owe that initially to my parents – they’ve taken me to a lot of competitions, which I think has improved my scores.”
Armstrong was in Wagga Wagga last week as part of a development program.
Among the most promising shooters in the land, the Plumpton resident received instructions from Suzie Balogh, a gold medal-winning Australian Olympian, and a number of other high-ranking shooters.
“We’re learning all about techniques that might help us and the mental side of it as well,” he said. “The mental side is more than half of it. You make too many mistakes when you get nervous, so it’s good to learn that side of it, too.”
Armstrong has already proven to have a steady hand and sharp eye in major competitions.
Selected in the Australian junior down the line team after impressing at the national championships for Victoria, he won a team gold with two other shooters at the World DTL Championships in Ireland last year.
This year, Armstrong has done well for Victoria at the Australian National Trap Championships, which the Big V won with a perfect score of 250 out of 250.
Armstrong placed third at the Junior National Champion of Champions after one measly point cost him. There were no such worries at the National Single Barrel event as he became the youngest ever to win the title.
In the National Points Score competition, Armstrong finished with a combined score of 298/300. It was the highest junior score and second highest overall.
Armstrong’s greatest honour so far is being named captain of the Australian junior team for the World DTL Championships, which will take place in Wagga Wagga next year.
In the meantime, Armstrong will focus on his second Australian team call-up when he competes at the World Universal Trench World Championships in France next month.
In the next 12 months, Armstrong will begin his transition into Olympic events. “That will give me a better opportunity to be able to make the Commonwealth or Olympic teams,” he said.
Armstrong is the July nominee of the Don Deeble Rising Star award.
The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and Star Weekly, recognises young athletes from the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and/or national levels.
Armstrong will receive $1000, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, and other prizes, to assist him in achieving his sports goals.