Sylvan Lake target shooting coach Arno Baron added to his Canada Winter Games success when three of his shooters medalled at this year’s Games in Prince George, B.C. last month.
The Team Alberta coach saw his shooters earn top honours in the Boys Pistol Team and Girls Pistol Team events, while another took home silver in the Girls Pistol Individual.
Baron has now been involved in five Canada Winter Games competitions, and in every single one has coached shooters to the podium.
But neither his nor his shooters’ success is down to luck, he assures. Instead, it’s the end product of what he says has been “thousands and thousands of hours” committed over the years to training and improving in the sport.
“Some of the kids had trained for (the Winter Games) for four years, some of them for six years,” he said. “I just train the kids the way I would train myself. It takes a lot of hard work and dedicated training, and it’s like with any other professional athlete – you have to keep it up. Success doesn’t happen without some effort.”
Shooting success is something Baron knows all about, having been a member of the Canadian National Team during his own competitive career and competed internationally at World Cup events.
It’s the knowledge and experience he gained during that time – and since then, too – that he now passes on to younger generation of shooters.
“I train people to be shooting at that level,” he said, adding some of his understudies will follow in his footsteps when they compete at an upcoming junior World Cup competition in Germany as members of the Canadian Junior Development Team.
And he’d like to see Central Alberta’s next generation of shooters given the opportunity to compete in the Canada Winter Games locally when the Games come to Red Deer in 2019.
A decision was made by the organizing committee to exclude target shooting from the Games’ lineup of events, but Baron has been helping circulate a petition lobbying for the sport’s reinstatement.
While the sport’s ultimate fate in the Games remains unclear, the petition has so far proven effective in raising awareness of the issue.
“I think we’ve (gathered) over 35 pages of petitions, and the petition went out to every coach and every manager, and to every province and territory in Canada,” said Baron. “If nothing else, everybody in Canada will know that we’re being excluded.”
Baron added he wouldn’t be surprised if the petition eventually surpasses 10,000 signatures.