Meet the New Zealand Shooting Para Sport Team: Natalie Brunzel
We caught up with the New Zealand Shooting Para sport team ahead of the 2022 World Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) World Championships. Set to compete at her first international competition in three years, Natalie Brunzel gives an insight into the mental stamina required to be an elite Para athlete.
1. You moved to New Zealand when you were 14. What do you think your 14-year-old self would think if you told her she would eventually represent New Zealand on the world stage in Shooting Para sport?
I was born in South Africa and left there when I was six years old. I then moved to New Zealand from Egypt. I always loved sports but always thought I couldn’t participate in any. So, I think I would be truly surprised and proud to be able to wear the silver fern and represent New Zealand.
2. In 2022, you began working with a new coach, Adam Jackson. What has been the key focus of your training this year?
Adam and I have been focusing on getting back into a competition mindset to be able to deal with the pressure of international competition. This is only my third international competition overseas and the last one was three years ago. It’s been great working with a coach who has a very different style and who is extremely focused on supporting me to have the mental fortitude needed to compete.
3. You’ve spoken previously about mental stamina being a vital skill in Shooting Para sport. What techniques do you use to remain locked-in over the course of a competition?
I think sometimes it is important to just remember to take one day at a time, one shot at a time and enjoy the little moments. It is so easy to get caught up in the performance aspect and to forget what an extraordinary privilege it is to take part in a World Championship. It also helps to remember that everyone is facing their challenges and that you never know who is going to be the best on the day. So, you have to take things as they come.
4. What are your goals heading into the 2022 World Shooting Para Sport World Championships?
The main goal is to get back into international competition mode and see where I am at and what things I need to work on. It is a moment to enjoy and layout the work that needs to be done to make it to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
5. Finally, if you could host the Shooting Para Sport World Championships in the city of your choice, where would it be and why?
I think every athlete would like to have it hosted in their home city. It would be so wonderful to be able to share a moment like the World Champs with friends and family. At the end of the day, there are so many people that support us and help us as athletes and so often they don’t get to come and see us perform. It would be lovely to have them all be able to watch in person.
Read more about Natalie’s teammates:
The 2022 World Shooting Para Sport World Championships take place in Al Ain, UAE from 3-18 November. It is a critical step toward the three Kiwis winning a quota and earning minimum qualifying scores for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.