Scotland’s world No 1 shooter Seonaid McIntosh eyes medal at Tokyo Olympics

Seonaid McIntosh is already Britain’s most successful female rifle shooter of all time – now she will get the chance to prove herself on the biggest stage.

Seonaid McIntosh thinks a medal is a possibility at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Patrick Hamilton/AFP via Getty Images
Seonaid McIntosh thinks a medal is a possibility at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Patrick Hamilton/AFP via Getty Images

The 24-year-old was one of four shooters named in Team GB’s squad for the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Games and, all being well, will make her Olympic bow this summer.

As the reigning world champion and world record holder, expectations are high.

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The youngest member of the McIntosh clan is aiming to top the achievements of mother Shirley, coach and father Donald, and sister Jen, all of whom were international shooters, by winning the family’s first Olympic medal.

Seonaid McIntosh with dad Donald, who is also her coach, after winning Team Scotland sportsperson of the year in 2019. Picture: Jeff Holmes

And in some ways, the disruption of the Covid pandemic and an extra year to prepare has helped.

“I found at the end of 2019 that I’d done quite a lot of stuff. It had been a successful year for me,” explains McIntosh, who is funded by The National Lottery on UK Sport’s World Class Programme.

“When last January rolled around, it was the Olympic year, I was getting quite nervous with the prospect of having been shooting really great and it being Olympic year.

“So in some ways this has helped me. That nervousness has dissipated, and I feel a lot better. I guess it will probably build up again in the next few months.

Seonaid Mcintosh of Scotland currently tops the rankings in the 3×50 air rifle discipline. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

“I definitely could medal, assuming I put in a good performance on the day. I wouldn’t say it’s definite but it’s definitely a possibility.”

Edinburgh-born McIntosh is one of more than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s World Class Programme which is powered by National Lottery funding, allowing her to train full-time and have access to the world’s best facilities.

McIntosh has not competed since her birthday last March but she is taking everything in her stride. It is an approach that has served her well.

After all, the world number one has achieved so much already despite having rheumatoid arthritis, which requires constant medication and left her recovering on her sofa during the Rio 2016 Games.

Seonaid McIntosh with sister Jen, a Commonwealth Games double gold medallist.

“That question is still there about will it or won’t it happen,” said McIntosh, a student at Edinburgh University. “But I guess I have to trust in the IOC and the BOA to make it happen if it is safe. If it’s not, I’d rather not go anyway.

“I like to think I’m good at dealing with pressure but I won’t know until I’m there really how I’ll handle that kind of pressure. I’m quietly confident.”

The GB shooting team for Tokyo is completed by Matt Coward-Holley, Aaron Heading and Kirsty Hegarty.

The six-strong Paralympic team compromises Ryan Cockbill, Matt Skelhon, Issy Bailey, James Bevis, Tim Jeffery and Lorraine Lambert.

Shirley McIntosh, Seonaid's mum, won a shooting gold medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.

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