For the past six months Suzy Balogh’s attentions have been focused on eradicating Australia’s feral animals, as the manager of the PestSmart Roadshow program with the Invasive Animals CRC.
Tomorrow night, however, her sites will be trained firmly on a target of a different kind when she lines up in the women’s trap shooting event at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London for the 2012 Olympic Games.
For the past 10 years the UNE rural science graduate has worked as an agricultural protection officer for the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Wagga Wagga and Orange.
Last year she took up a role as project manager for the PestSmart Roadshow program which has involved advising landholders at 20 roadshows across Australia on the latest invasive animal control techniques and strategies.
In her time off Suzy’s passion is competing in target shooting and in the past 25 years she has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s best female shooters.
She took up the sport of clay target shooting when she was 15 in order to spend more time with her father.
A year later she became the youngest woman in Australia to claim the Women’s Australia Down the Line Clay Target High Gun Title, and then went onto become the first Australian woman to win an Olympic gold medal for shooting when she triumphed in the final of the women’s trap event in the Athens Olympics of 2004.
She did not compete at the last Olympics in Beijing but enters tomorrow’s event in London as Australia’s no.1 ranked women’s trap shooter.
The qualification round for the event will commence at 6pm Australian time tomorrow (Saturday August 4) with the finals to follow immediately after the qualifying rounds.
Invasive Animals CRC Glen Conroy said Suzy’s colleagues, friends and family were all preparing for a long night in front the TV as they support her bid to win a second gold medal on the other side of the world.
So does being an Olympic level shooter come in handy in her day job as a feral animal control officer?
“There is no real link – shooting is one of the control methods available – but it does give her respect from the landholders she talks to,” Mr Conroy told Beef Central this morning.