Shooting star all set to wow London 2012
FROM the very first time she picked up a gun, Charlotte Kerwood seemed set for stardom.
Kerwood, who was born in Cuckfield, first took hold of a gun at the tender age of 12 and was trained by her father, who owns a shooting club in Sussex.
However, she soon became better than him and by the age of 15, she had won county titles and was bursting onto the international scene after winning gold in the individual double trap at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
She followed this up with success at the European Championships in Italy, where she won another gold – firmly placing her as the poster girl of British shooting.
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Two further Commonwealth gold medals followed at the 2006 games in Melbourne – in the double trap singles and the double trap pairs.
This cemented her place still further as a star of the sport, but also brought added pressure, with everyone now expecting big things for the teenager.
A subsequent change in discipline – a change from double trap to the Olympic trap prior to her Olympic debut in Beijing, brought a halt to the medal success for Kerwood, who, in her own words, endured a "couple of bad years".
She said: "It really was difficult to change and it took a long time for me to feel good about my technique.
"It is completely different and it has been hard, but I have worked hard on it and now I am feeling good."
She said the support of her family and friends was key during that time and she said they had "all been great" during everything she has been through, including having to wait to have her place in the squad confirmed at this year's Games.
And Kerwood, now 25, said she is starting to feel like she is back to her best and ready to compete in a sport she loves at the Olympic Games in her home country.
She said: "I have had a couple of bad years, but I feel like I am over that now.
"I am looking forward to getting there and doing my best in my home country.
"Shooting is a great sport that I love – you have the social side of it and I have some amazing friends within it, while I also get to cover the world doing it."
Kerwood is particularly looking forward to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games as well as the obvious excitement around her own competition.
She said: "It is going to be amazing.
"To be part of an Olympics in your own country is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am really looking forward to it."
Meanwhile, Kerwood is daring to dream of contending for medals once again, as she still recalls with fond memories her very first gold back in 2002.
She said: "Winning the Commonwealth gold for the first time was amazing.
"Walking out at the opening ceremony in Beijing was great too and it will be brilliant to do that in London."
However, she still has things to think about before the Games, with several competitions in Italy and training to prepare her for the world's spotlight at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.
She said: "I will be keeping the intensity of my training up.
"I have a couple of competitions too before I come home to pick up my kit and move into the [Olympic] village.
"It is really exciting and I just can't wait now."