Scottish shooter Seonaid McIntosh could win Great Britain’s first medal of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday and elevate her family’s impressive sporting dynasty to rarefied heights.
If the 25-year-old needed inspiration, then she does not have to look very far.
Mother Shirley and sister Jennifer won nine Commonwealth Games shooting medals between them for Scotland, while her father and coach Donald represented his country more than 50 times in international events.
Edinburgh-born McIntosh, who has battled rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 17, had ambitions to reach the top inspired by her sister competing at London 2012.
McIntosh already has an impressive collection of world, European and Commonwealth medals, and she now lines up at the Asaka Shooting Range – in Saturday’s 10 metre air rifle competition and her stronger 50m rifle three positions event next week – with sights firmly trained on podium finishes.
If she takes gold in the 10m air rifle, McIntosh will become the first British competitor since racquets player Evan Baillie Noel 113 years ago to win an opening medal event of an Olympic Games.
Willie McAulay has been secretary of Alloa and District Rifle Club, where the McIntosh family are members, for 33 years, and watched her become one of British shooting’s star attractions.
“I am sure that Seonaid will be on the podium at Tokyo,” he told the PA news agency.
“If she was to win Team GB’s first medal in Tokyo it would be an amazing achievement, and she certainly has the ability and confidence to do so.
“Her parents became members of the club around the late 1980s, and later on, I can remember that Seonaid would come along to club sessions with her parents and sister, but did not seem to be interested in target shooting – she was usually sat reading or doing her homework.
“She certainly had a tough act to follow with her mother winning medals in Commonwealth Games and Donald being one of the top shooters on the European target shooting scene.
“But Seonaid seemed to take everything in her stride, starting off as part of our club’s junior air rifle shooting team.
“Donald saw the potential in her, and a very strict training programme was introduced. As club coach, I sat in on some of these training sessions and used some of Donald’s coaching techniques with the junior club members.
“Seonaid is a great ambassador for the club, with our junior members putting in a lot of hard work to try and achieve similar prestige, even if it is at local and county level.
“The club has a scrapbook on Seonaid’s and other members’ achievements, and Donald has given the club memorabilia from numerous competitions that Seonaid has attended.
“Fingers-crossed that we find ourselves with something from Tokyo.”
McIntosh’s Olympics debut now awaits, having already established herself as the most successful British rifle-shooter in history with world championship and World Cup triumphs during the last three years.
And it also means a continuation of the Alloa production line, with currently nine club members who have shot in Commonwealth and Olympic Games.