Jennifer McIntosh has ensured British Shooting have their first female rifle shooter at a non-home Olympic Games in nearly three decades.
The Scottish athlete came fourth in the 3x20 final at the European Championships in Maribor to secure an Olympic quota place for Rio 2016.
The result means Team GB’s shooting team now hold a total of four quota places going into the Games with Ed Ling, Elena Allen and Amber Hill all gaining shotgun quotas at previous competitions.
To put McIntosh’s achievement into context, the last female athlete to perform in an Olympic Games prior to London 2012 was Sarah Cooper in 1988, some 27 years ago.
Jen’s qualification round was extremely impressive, firing quickly and efficiently to see her finish top of the pile after shooting a total of 588.28 (99, 99, 100, 99, 95, 96). She then went on to secure a final place of fourth in the overall competition.
After coming so close to securing a quota place in previous competitions, McIntosh admitted that there is a sense of relief at having finally done enough.
Jen spoke to British Shooting after the event and said: “I feel relieved at the moment. It’s been quite a difficult season, I’ve come really close a couple of times, but to have done it now, it’s that box ticked and I can relax a bit.
"For me personally, I’ve always wanted to win a quota place at the Olympics. At London it was automatically allocated so feels like I’ve really earned this myself through a lot of hard work and determination.
"I felt a fair amount of pressure going into the match but I had a lot of experience to draw on to help me deal with that."
With the sport of shooting clearly on the up, and the talent pool of female rifle shooters increasing, McIntosh hopes her achievement will inspire other girls to see that success in target shooting is possible.
She explained: "It’s the first time since the 80s that we will have a female rifle shooter at a non-home Olympics and I hope that my performance shows that it doesn’t take any kind of black magic to get to become an Olympian, it’s all about hard work and a relentless determination.
"I think the structure British Shooting has put in place has been really beneficial. It has helped me get in the right a state of mind and when we're united as a group it definitely helps.
"I can't thank UK Sport and the National Lottery enough for supplying the funding to make it all possible."
Jen is probably better placed than anyone to comment on what it takes to become a successful rifle athlete, coming from a family a very successful target shooters.
With her father, Donald, Head Rifle coach at British Shooting and her younger sister Seonaid performing extremely well this season, the McIntosh clan really have made their mark on the world of rifle shooting.
Speaking of her family's involvement with British Shooting, Jen said: “I’d like to give a big shout out to my dad for all his help and support through the years and for putting up with me through the good times and the bad!
"Also my sister has been doing really well this year and hopefully this will inspire her going forward.”