Local professional shooter, Gaby Ahrens told The Economist this week that her plans for the year include attending the South African Championships to defend her title at the African Shooting Championships. Ahrens, who started shooting competitively in 2006, said she is also in the process of preparing for the Commonwealth Games which are scheduled to take place in Glasgow next year."Currently I train once a week at the shooting range. Closer to competitions, I increase training on the range to 3 times a week. During the week I keep myself fit and strong by exercising for an average of 2 hours a day," she said.
She has won several Southern African states championships, Angolan Championships and National Championships over the last year. Her biggest achievement to date was winning the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in New Delhi, India. She was awarded Namibian Sports Woman of the Year 2010 and is the current African champion for 2011. She was also part of the Namibian team which represented the country at the London Olympic Games in 2012.
"It was the most honourable experience I had in my life. To be the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony made me very proud. Competition day was very tough for me but I am happy with my score. It is my goal to go to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and try winning a medal there. To be part of the Olympics is very special," she added.
According to Ahrens, funding is one of the major setbacks faced by competitive shooters. "Sadly only those athletes who can finance their own sport can go further as there is little to no financial backing. The initial setup is very expensive. Thereafter it depends how much you shoot. The more you shoot the more expensive it gets," she added.
She named Italian Shooter, Jessica Rossi as her shooting role model. Rossi won the gold medal in the Women's Trap event at the 2012 Olympics, where she scored a world record of 75 in the qualification and a world record of 99 in the final.
"Maybe people think it is a Male Sport. Women are free to play as well and have actually proven many times that they can shoot just as well as men," said Ahrens.
Ahrens also assisted in raising more than N$1 million dollars towards building the Olympic Shooting Range in Windhoek. With her dedication, passion and achievements she has taken the Shooting Sport in Namibia to new heights.