Amber brings splash of colour


Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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Seventeen-year-old shooting star Amber Hill has vowed to defy the traditionalists and continue to blaze a colourful trail in her sport as she sets her sights on Olympic gold in Rio next year.

Hill kept her cool as the temperature tipped 34 degrees in baking Baku on Saturday to win the women’s skeet title at the inaugural European Games after a marathon 60-shot shoot-off against Italian world number one Diana Bacosi.

With her spray-painted shotgun and personalised bright pink cartridges, Hill cuts a striking figure in a sport in which her rivals often reach their peak at almost double her age – and admits her novel approach has not always found favour.

Hill, whose win effectively qualified her for the 2016 Games, said: “Some people maybe don’t think it’s the nicest thing because they like the traditional wood. But I don’t see a problem with changing tradition – it’s not disrespecting it.

“I wanted to be a little bit different and a company called Altamura Concepts came to me about spraying my gun. I love the feel of it, and being a bit unique.

“Hopefully that will attract younger girls and younger people in general to look at the sport which they wouldn’t normally do. I think it is very important to keep it up to date.”

Despite her tender years Hill can still almost count as a veteran in her sport having tried it for the first time at the age of 10 after persuasion from her grandfather Bill, who remains an almost constant companion on the circuit.

Hill won the world senior title at the age of 15, which led to her following the likes of Wayne Rooney and Tom Daley in being crowned BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, but struggled to cope with the weight of expectation at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

But Hill showed composure way beyond her years as she bounced back to form in Baku, earning her place in the gold medal match then going perfect in the dramatic shoot-out before Bacosi missed her 29th shot and gave the Bracknell teenager her chance at gold.

With victory, Hill took the quota place on offer for Rio and is relishing the prospect of going to her first Olympics having failed to even get a ticket to watch the action in London in 2012.

She added: “I applied for some tickets but I didn’t actually get any. But my friend knew I wanted to go and I did manage to get to one of the days and I was blown away by it.

“At that point I had not even done World Cups, I was just doing small-scale competitions, but I was like, ‘right, this is the level of competition I want to reach’.”

Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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