Sports

Trickshot, lefty biathlete shoots right into to Winter Games

Destiny Underwood jumped into the biathlon from time spent shooting at the North Saanich Rod and Gun Club with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets,  Squadron 848. - Travis Paterson/News staff
Destiny Underwood jumped into the biathlon from time spent shooting at the North Saanich Rod and Gun Club with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Squadron 848.
— image credit: Travis Paterson/News staff

Biathlete representing Victoria at B.C. Winter Games

Destiny Underwood is a lefty, but she shoots right.

No, she’s not a hockey player, though she does play competitive field lacrosse.

A multi-sport athlete, Underwood’s newest undertaking is the biathlon. In just her second year she’s headed to the B.C. Winter Games in Vernon, Feb. 23 to 26.

It’s a big step competitively, she admits, and she wants nothing more but to “do her best and learn from the competitors around her.”

But unlike lacrosse, where players are encouraged to develop both their left and right handed shots, biathlon rifles, usually .22s, are designed specifically for the right or left handed shooter. Unfortunately, so few shooters are lefties that there is no left-handed rifle available to Underwood. Instead, she’s learned on, and adjusted to a right-handed 22.

“I make it work. I’m the first left-handed shooter my coach has ever coached,” says the 14-year-old student from Spectrum Community School. “I’m saving up and searching for a left-handed rifle but for now I can still improve just by using a right-handed shot.

“I just can’t put my chin in the chin rest. So I have to rest (my chin) against the corner of the rifle, and I also reach over with my left hand to make adjustments.”

Because of her situation, Underwood will have one of the most unique styles competing in the biathlon portion of the Games.

She got into the sport, which combines cross-country skiing and target shooting, through her time spent shooting at the North Saanich Rod and Gun club as a member of the Langford-based Air Cadets Squadron 848.

The skiing is challenging, too. Underwood makes regular trips to Mount Washington to train. But at least her boots are on the right feet.

“I enjoy the challenge of shooting, despite all its frustrations,” she said.

Underwood qualified for the B.C. Winter Games by placing 10th at a recent provincial competition.

For more information, visit the Black Press' B.C. Games website, and BCGames.org

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