Thursday, February 26, 2015

Merritt Resident Wins Bronze Medal At Canada Winter Games in Prince George

© Othmar Vohringer

(Originally published in the Merritt Herald - Othmar Vohringer, The Outdoorsman)

Dakota O’Donovan, a young Merritt resident, and his teammate Brian Ng from Langley scored a bronze medal in the air pistol shooting competition at the Canada Winter Games 2015, held in Prince George. Dakota O’Donovan has come a very long way in the shooting sport from his beginnings when he joined the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club archery classes five years ago. From the archery Dakota enrolled into the club’s .22 rifle shooting classes. He liked the shooting sport so much that he began seriously thinking about becoming a competitive sport target shooter.

Dakota did exactly that when he joined the BC airgun shooting team and began his training program. The bronze medal win is indeed a great achievement, especially considering that Brian Ng and Dakota O’Donovan only spent a very short time together as a team. Yet, they had confidence and trust in each others ability. During the competition neither of the two was able to see the others shooting results. “We really had no idea how the other was doing until the results were combined.” explained Dakota to me.

The bronze medal is by Dakota’s words, his biggest achievement in his life to date, and it only took him a little more than a year to become proficient enough to compete in the Canadian Winter Games. The bronze medal is also an outward symbol that shows others where dedication and discipline can take you. He started off learning archery skills with a wooden recurve bow that was provided by the Nicola Valley Fish & Game club and after that moved on to learning to shoot a firearm with a gun that was provided by the course instructor. What led Dakota to his current success is the will and determination to succeed in what he started by putting the time and hard work in it that it takes to be the best he can be. With that he serves as a positive role model to the young people of his generation.

I asked Dakota what his upcoming plans are; perhaps making it all the way to the Canadian Olympic pistol shooting team? Why not! For Dakota the road ahead is wide open and he can take it as far as he wants too. But for the moment he is concentrating on training his skills, taking part in more competitions and taking it one day at the time.

This summer the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club will host another .22 rifle shooting course and offers an ongoing archery course for members and non-members alike. Learning to shoot a firearm or bow provides a fun experience in a social setting of likeminded people, it also teaches responsibility, discipline, concentration, attention to detail and hand-eye-coordination. These are all useful and needed skills in everyday life and work.

Image caption: 
Dakota O’Donovan (far right with shooting instructor Bruce Merkley looking on) took his first baby steps to a medal winning target shooter in the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club’s youth rifle shooting course. 

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