Rio Olympics: Aislin Jones Is 16 And Will Be Australia's Youngest Ever Olympic Shooter In Rio

08/04/2016 3:51 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Matt King via Getty Images
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES - APRIL 08: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been desaturated.) Aislin Jones poses after being named in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Australian Shooting Team during the Australian Olympic Games Shooting Team Selection Announcement at the Museum of Contemporary Art on April 8, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

This is Aislin Jones. She's got her L-Plates but is too young to drive on her own. She's got plenty of homework to do this weekend. She is, in most respects, a perfectly regular 16-year-old.

Except for one thing. Aislin Jones is going to the Rio Olympics to shoot for Australia.

aislin jones

Alongside Jones is 25-year-old Laetisha Scanlan, who has been selected for Rio in trap shooting.

Jones is a skeet shooter. She lives in Lakes Entrance in Victoria's Gippsland region and goes to school in Bairnsdale, about 45 minutes inland. That's where she shoots too.

It just so happens that this reporter once broke down in Bairnsdale on a hot day and doesn't think much of the town. But Jones loves it. Why does she love it?

"Bairnsdale’s a great place. We’ve got two gun clubs I can train at there. so you can’t get much better than that," Jones told The Huffington Post Australia.

Guess you can't, no. Might have to give the place a second chance.

At the last Olympics in London, Jones was still in primary school. She was already into clay target shooting as a result of following her dad around simulated field shoots at Bairnsdale Field & Game gun club from the age of 10, and watched the finals keenly on TV.

"From there I became quite passionate about the sport. Since then I've always wanted to go to the Olympics."

Most people would have to wait a decade or two. But not Jones. Her hard work and natural talent has booked her one of the oversized boarding passes all our Rio Olympians are receiving.

Out training... What else do you do when it's raining?

Posted by Aislin Jones - ISSF Skeet on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Jones is quite the celebrity in the Gippsland region. Not that her school friends knew about her Olympic team selection on Friday.

Thanks to the Australian Clay Target Shooting News for the great cover on this months issue!

Posted by Aislin Jones - ISSF Skeet on Saturday, March 26, 2016

Jones loves the challenge of shooting. She just loves it.

"I think it’s a hard sport. You can never be perfect at it, so it always makes you work hard. And to be honest, I just really like breaking clay targets."

She loves breaking clay targets. Who wouldn't love that?

We must confess, though. Here at The Huffington Post Australia, we're not exactly experts in the finer points of clay target shooting, so we asked Aislin how many pieces a clay target breaks into when it's been hit.

"If you get a good solid hit there’s like nothing left."

We thought that sounded like a pretty awesome sensation, so our next question was how it feels to reduce centimetre-thick disc of flying clay to rubble.

"Really good. Powerful."

Which is a nice feeling to have when your mother still has to drive you to training after school because you're not old enough to drive a car yourself.

Away from shooting, Jones is a top student who excels at maths, science and playing the flute. Does maths and science help with shooting or is it more of a feel thing?

"I think it’s the ability to keep collected in certain situations," Jones said. "You can’t let anyone get to you. You've got to be pretty mentally tough."

That, from a 16-year-old. Congrats to you Aislin, and all the shooters in our 18-strong Olympic team. Australia has won shooting medals at four of the last five Olympics and looks likely to make it five from six.

Now excuse us while we go sit in a corner somewhere and feel inadequate.

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