Amber Hill column: 'I couldn't be more excited about going to Rio Olympics'

In the first of her exclusive columns for the Advertiser in the build up to Rio 2016, GB skeet shooter and Olympic medal hopeful Amber Hill talks about her beginnings in the sport, the sacrifices she makes and her hopes for the future. Amber, who was born in Windsor and studied at Maidenhead’s Claires Court School, was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2013.

Amber Hill

Amber Hill column: 'I couldn't be more excited about going to Rio Olympics'

When I first started shooting six years ago, I persisted because it was a great way for me to spend quality time with my grandad, who first introduced me to the sport.

As time went on I started to become really passionate about the sport, and I quickly realised that I had a certain knack for it.

It’s now under three months until Rio 2016 starts and I couldn’t be more excited! Time is flying by and my schedule consists of training on the range three to four times a week, working out in the gym four to five times a week and I’ve also been competing in events around the world including Cyprus, Qatar and the pre-Olympics test event.

The latter was a brilliant experience for helping me to get used to the climate out there.

When I have a rare bit of time off it’s important for me to relax and en- joy my favourite things like spending time with friends, family and my boyfriend, and I also love to indulge in a bit of retail therapy.

I’m not your average 18-year-old and have had to make sacrifices that many others of my age wouldn’t.

I can’t just go out with friends on a whim, everything has to be meticulously planned into my training schedule. I wouldn’t change it for the world though, being an Olympic hopeful is 100 per cent worth it.

One thing that’s helped keep my feet on the ground is the support network I have around me including the support from my sponsors, premium British watch brand Christopher Ward, who first spotted me as an up-and-coming talent and now back me through their Challengers Programme.

Shooting isn’t a mainstream sport, and being a woman competing in a non-mainstream sport meant I used to feel like I was a small fish in a big pond, but thanks to their support, alongside that of my family, friends and coach, I’m starting to realise that this isn’t the case.

I now hope to encourage and inspire other young girls to get into sport, not only girls in Berkshire, but girls the world over!"

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