Women in Shooting: Part 1 - Suzy Balogh

This week we will be looking at five women with varying levels of involvement in shooting and hunting in a special 5 part series. Today we start by catching up with Australian Gold medalist Suzy Balogh. In 2004, Suzy became the first Australian women to win Gold in a shooting event. Suzy is also a life member of the SSAA.

"Thrilled, humbled and proud."

Those are the words that Suzy Balogh uses to describe the historic moment at the Athens Olympic Games which saw her wearing an Olympic Gold medal around her neck and the Australian national anthem playing in the background.

“Thrilled that our Anthem was playing because of my efforts. Humbled that I was among such amazing Olympians who had stood there prior. Proud of myself for holding my nerve and for making my dream come true but also doing the best job I could for my country, my team, my family and my friends.”

It was in 2004 that Suzy wrote her name in our Nation’s sport history books as the first Australian woman to ever win Olympic gold in the shooting sports.

But Suzy’s historic achievement wasn’t an overnight success.

“You could pretty much say clay target shooting and also hunting was in my blood. I started clay shooting when I was 14, but was shooting ducks and rabbits well before then.”

Suzy grew up around firearms. Her grandfather owned a gunshop in Echuca while her father owned a gun shop in Queanbeyan.

So it was no surprise when she first began to get interested in the shooting sports.

“My Dad loved it when I finally took up shooting having previously been too busy with representative softball and netball.”

In fact, Suzy’s brother and younger sister are also shooters while her mum and other sister have always been supportive.

“I remember a fax sent to the Athens Olympic village from my sisters that read Balogh girls kick butt!”

Suzy says she has been fortunate that her friends and employers have also been supportive of her while she has pursued her lofty goals, saying she had taken many to the Range so they could see for themselves what the sport is all about.

“I think that through taking them to the range on open days, it has really helped them understand why I do it.”

Asked what she enjoys most about the shooting sports, Suzy says it’s all about the personal challenge that the shooting sports provide.

“It’s just me, my equipment and the target. It’s all about positive action thoughts – see the target shoot the target. You can never let self doubt sneak in. Putting myself at times under some extreme pressure, a variety of situations and conditions and seeing how I actually come out the other end is why I compete. I also simply love the adrenalin rush and exhilaration you get from high stakes competition.”

On the question of how organisations like SSAA NSW can encourage more women to consider taking up the sport, Suzy was unequivocal.

“Women love shooting just as much as the boys do!”

“I believe the more women that get involved with shooting the more protected, politically, the sport will be and the richer the shooting environment will be. So to get more women involved the first thing is using equipment that suits women. Clubs can start by getting ‘try’ guns that are suitable for women – shorter stocks, lighter firearms, lower recoil, smaller gauges – you don’t want to scare them away at the start because they can’t even see down the barrel or hold the thing up (there are women at world championships that shoot 20 gauges instead of 12 gauges).”

“Clubs could also provide ‘go to people’ for beginners. If every shooter is friendly, helpful, encouraging and particularly welcoming to the new shooters at their club; those new shooters may just love it so much they want to introduce our sport to their friends. So just by every one of us being welcoming to a new shooter male or female, each of us just may be able to secure the future of our sport.”

Suzy is passionate about introducing more people to the safe, fun and unique sport of shooting, and has established HITTING TARGETS to introduce people to the exhilarating sport of clay target shooting.

“I simply love watching people hit their first clay target. They truly get empowered and exhilarated when they hit that first target they also get quite excited about firing a real 12 gauge shotgun.”

For more information on HITTING TARGETS you can visit their website at www.hittingtargets.com.au


SSAA NSW would like to thank Suzy for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with us. Tomorrow we will be continuing our look at women involved in shooting and hunting.

SSAA Illawarra Branch help Clean up Australia

Seventeen members of SSAA Illawarra Branch braved the bad weather over the weekend to participate in the 25th Clean up Australia Day on Sunday March 3rd.

SSAA Illawarra Branch President Alois said that the Branch regularly participate in various community events including the Wollongong Rise and Shine Cleanup where they have been involved for more than ten years. The Branch has even received an Environmental Award for their continued participation.

Congratulations to the members of SSAA Illawarra Branch. Keep up the great work !!

If your Branch is active in the local community, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can spread the word across the State.

Federal Government announces violent crime forum in Western Sydney

With the Federal Election now just a matter of months away and the (unofficial) campaign in full swing, voters in key marginal seats - particularly those in Western Sydney - can expect to hear a lot more from the two major parties about "getting tough on crime."

Inevitably, that will lead to a discussion of firearms.

Federal Immigration Minister and Member for McMahon Chris Bowen is the first cab off the rank. Minister Bowen has announced a community forum addressing violent crime  will be held in his electorate.

Mr Bowen, in a letter to his constituents, says:

"There have been almost 200 shootings in NSW in the last two years, most in Western Sydney. Although law and order is mainly a State Government issue, the safety of the public should be the most important goal ..."

Once again it is disappointing to see that no distinction has been made between the thousands of licensed, law abiding firearm owners who use their guns responsibly and the criminals with illegal guns.

If you live in the McMahon electorate and would like to attend the forum the details are:

Wednesday 27 March
7:00 - 9:00pm
Smithfield RSL (cnr Cumberland Highway and Neville Street Smithfield)

Please note it is necessary to RSVP to Minister Bowen's office on 02 9604 0710 by Friday 22 March.

Licensed firearm owners want all levels of Government to get serious about the issue of illegal gun crime. But placing further restrictions on law abiding firearm owners is not the answer.

Are you going to attend the forum? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Victory (for now) but campaign continues

As we reported last week, the NSW Firearms Registry had recently posted the details of the controversial Ammunition Control Bill 2012 on their website and the details were worse than shooters first thought.

Not only did the new regulations require firearms dealers to record the names and addresses of all licensed firearm owners when purchasing ammunition, there were also extensive changes to the PTA system.

Yesterday we were relieved to see that all mention of these changes had been removed from the Firearms Registry website, however this morning a senior NSW Government staff member has been quoted as saying the "regulations would not change."

Clearly the NSW Government and NSW Firearms Registry aren't on the same page when it comes to these ridiculous changes.

So, while we may have won a reprieve for now, it's important that we let local MPs know that these changes just won't work.

These proposed changes represent ANOTHER burden on licensed, law abiding firearm owners. Worse still, they won't be effective in stopping a single crime.

NSW firearm owners already abide by some of the strictest gun laws in Australia, and adding new restrictions will change nothing.

Gun owners and non gun owners alike deserve a Government who will take meaningful action to reduce crime.

SSAA NSW is ready and willing to work with the NSW Government on sensible and effective laws that get illegal guns off the street, but we won't support laws that further restrict law abiding shooters.

The campaign has already caused the Government to delay these ridiculous laws. It's working. And now is not the time to rest.

We need members to contact their local MP and let them know that imposing more restrictions on licensed, law abiding shooters won't stop a single crime.

You can use the SSAA NSW Action Centre to find the contact details for your local MP. You can also see the number of other SSAA NSW members who live in your area.


Download SSAA NSW Standard Branch Constitution here