8 June 2023

High-calibre Griffith shooter aims for international success in Hungary

| Chris Roe
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trap shooters

Nick and Bart Brighenti are building a family legacy in trap shooting. Photo: Supplied.

Griffith young gun Nicholas Brighenti has his sights set on international success after again being selected in the Australian junior clay pigeon shooting team to compete in Hungary next month.

The 19-year-old will join 15 other Australians at the 45th World FITASC (Federation Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse) Sporting Championships where he hopes they will continue the tradition of punching above their weight.

“In terms of shooting, Australians for some reason perform really, really well,” he said.

“I don’t think it gets much publicity, but for such a small country with such a lot of taboos around gun culture, we do amazingly in terms of competition.”

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Nick is following in the footsteps of his father, champion Riverina shooter Bart Brighenti, and began blasting his way through clay pigeons as soon as he could obtain a licence.

“I started shooting with Dad when I was 12 and he’s always been my coach,” he said.

“We do have traps on the farm, so we’d head out there a few times every fortnight and have a bit of a practice.”

Clay shooting

Australians punch above their weight in international clay shooting. Photo: Supplied.

Nick enjoys the discipline of the sport and puts in the hours to sharpen his skills.

“It’s a fantastic sport. It’s really technique based and a mental game more so than anything physical,” he said.

“When you’re in there, things really slow down and it’s all about having great self-control, and we get fantastic crowds at the events as well.”

He explained that the journey to the national squad took had taken him through multiple rounds of state and national shoots before taking on the Grand Prix event for a place in the Aussie team.

“Australia as a domestic competition is extremely hard compared to most other countries,” he said.

“There really would not be many other places where it’s harder to crack a top place in any category than in Australia because it isn’t just an individual or a couple of really good shooters, it is the standard of shooting across the board that is well and truly world-class.”

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Last year’s event was held in Orvieto in Italy and Nick said it was both an amazing opportunity to compete on an international stage and to reconnect with relatives.

“It was just fantastic. We got to go and spend some time with family at Lake Garda in northern Italy, do the competition and trip around for a little bit,” he said.

“We ended up finishing well last year, we were right up there but not quite enough to make the podium.

“This year, I think we should go slightly better and a second or third would be a fantastic finish and individually, if I could make it up there in the top 10, I’d be pretty happy and that’d be fantastic towards my points in the overall placings in the world.”

Nick is currently enjoying a gap year before heading to Sydney for university in 2024 but hopes to keep competing with an eye on next year’s event in the US, finances permitting.

“It is quite an expensive sport and the price of ammunition has gone up exponentially since the beginning of COVID,” he said.

“The average price of ammunition has jumped to anywhere from $90 to $110 or more per slab [250 shells] of just your regular sort of competition ammunition.

“Your average competition is 100 to 200 targets, so you pretty much go through that, if not more, in a weekend.

“I’m lucky I’ve got Dad behind me at the moment but I dread the thought of having to navigate it by myself because it is quite hard on the pocket!”

Nick and the rest of the Australian team head to Hungary to compete from 13-16 July and you can follow their progress here.

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