Clay turns into gold

May 09, 2018

Nathalia's Nick Guerra was locked in during his sporting clays Oceania Championship win.

Nick Guerra has conquered Oceania — now for the world.

The Nathalia marksman came up with the goods in last month’s Federation Internationale de Tir Aux Sportives de Chasse Oceania Championships, the biggest sporting clay shooting event in the region.

Many have called it the toughest challenge in clay target shooting, resembling ‘‘golf with a shotgun’’ with sometimes more than 10 different shooting locations across the competition.

And the Australian representative’s year is just getting started, with July’s World Championships in France top of the agenda.

In Rotorua, New Zealand, Guerra trumped a pair of Australian teammates to claim individual honours, as well as taking home team gold with his compatriots.

‘‘I ended up equal with two other guys from Australia (Chris Brown and Socrates Pilipasidis), so we had a further 25-target shoot-off,’’ Guerra said.

‘‘Two of us were still tied after that, so it went to sudden death.

‘‘I shot really well, especially in those last two days. I was four shots back after the first 75 shots and I came home strong and caught up to them.’’

The shoot-off with Brown and Pilipasidis was as high-pressure as it gets — and it brought the best out of Guerra.

‘‘Obviously I was a bit nervous and there were a couple of hundred people watching and it was definitely the biggest competition I’ve ever won,’’ he said.

‘‘It was pretty close the whole way, but you just try and forget about all that and it just sort of happened for me.’’

Explaining his chosen discipline, Guerra said it was three days of action.

‘‘There’s 200 targets, shot across three days; the first two days you take 75 shots each and then 50 on the last day, in eight lots of 25 shots, and there’s eight different rounds and courses,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s all varying targets, speeds and locations.’’

Next stop for Guerra is the World Championships after getting through the lengthy Australian selection process with flying colours.

‘‘We’ll see how we go there, it’ll probably be pretty hard to win there, but to get top 20 or top 10 would be really good,’’ he said.

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