Victoria Walls

Where in Scotland are you from? I’m currently a student so have two homes - Aberdeen and Dollar.

What discipline(s) do you shoot and who are your coaches? I shoot 10m Precision Air Rifle and 50m 3 Position Rifle. My main coach is the wonderful Anne Grethe Jeppeson, however in training camps and at competitions I have also received a lot of support from Ian Malone.

How did you get involved in the sport and what was shooting journey to get on to the performance programme? When I was in second year of high school at Dollar Academy I joined the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) where I was given my first taste of shooting at their annual ‘recruit camp’ in August. Part of the school contained a small 25m indoor range where members of the CCF were allowed to shoot under instruction from Julia Adamson and Craig Stewart.

Being a competitive person I wanted to find out how I could become superior to my peers, and through the help of my friend and fellow Performance Athlete Scott Norval I ended up joining Alloa and District RC. I was too small for any of their club rifles, so the people there decided to alter a wooden stock for me. This of course meant that on my first night there I wasn’t able to shoot with the kind of rifle’s I was used to. I was introduced to a biathlon shooter who was using an old side leaver air rifle, so whilst I waited for the members of the club to adjust the other rifle for me I was given a go with said air rifle.

If ever there was a time to use the phrase “taking to the skill like a duck to water” it could be used to describe my first go using an air rifle. I quickly picked up skills in the discipline and went on later that year to win D Class in the Scottish Airgun Championships.

A very supportive member of Alloa, Willie McAulay, was incredibly helpful in trying to get me onto the Scottish Under 21 squad, as well as encouraging me to go to various bigger competitions such as the Welsh and British Championships.

At my first British Championships I got into the junior final and was asked to join the GB Junior Rifle Squad (now called the GB Talent squad). I stayed in this squad for a year traveling to Wolverhampton in an almost monthly basis to attend weekend training camps in the West Midlands Regional Range.

During this time I was also in the Under 21 squad and had applied to a programme called Target Tokyo. This scheme was designed to source athletes to join the GB Academy squad in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. I made it all the way to the final stage of this programme, and whilst I did not make the final cut for the GB Academy at the time I was promoted from the Scottish Under 21 Squad to the STS Fast Track Squad (Now the STS Academy Squad).

Where you do your shooting? I shoot all over Scotland depending on whether I am training or competing, but most of the time I am at Denwood Target Shooting Centre. There are two outdoor ranges and an indoor range at this facility. As a member of the performance squad I am able to use STS owned electronic targets here, and one of the resident clubs, Bon-Accord Rifle Club, are currently fundraising for their own electronic targets with STS support.

As a community run and maintained facility it has a homely feel unlike anything I have experienced in any other country.

I train all over the place, being a member of multiple different clubs. As a student I spend most of my training time in the Aberdeen sports village for physical training or Denwood Target Shooting Centre when I am doing technical training sessions with my rifles. When I was living at home I spent most of my time training at my Home club; Alloa and District RC which has two separate ranges. I spent most of my time working on Air rifle in their indoor range in Kincardine, but I have also trained on their outdoor Range near Tulligarth Farm. I also made us of the Indoor 50m range at Meadowbank sports centre until it was closed in December. Being in the high-performance program has also allowed me to train in some more exotic places; my main coach is from Norway so I along with other members of the squad have also taken part in the occasional training camp in ranges in and around Oslo.

What are your hopes and plans for the future in terms of your shooting career? Until recently I would have told anyone that the Commonwealth Games was my main focus – with the intention of using it as a stepping stone to bigger events such as the world cup series and the Olympics. Sadly Shooting had been removed from the upcoming 2022 Birmingham games which has forced a shift in thinking on this department; and as any athlete knows, you have to adapt to circumstances.

I still maintain those higher aims of the Olympics and World Cup series and the ultimate goal of shooting with the GB Performance Programme, but now I look more towards matches such at the European Championships as my ‘replacement’ Commonwealth Games step.

Any other interesting non-shooting related fact about yourself that you would like to mention? Once I was dared to joke in a final where I was asked to give an interesting fact that I’m a “Professional Haggis Hunter”. I now do it on a frequent basis as I’m a bit of a sucker for the giggle that usually comes from the other home nations.