Bundaberg is again the training venue of choice for Slovak shooter Erik Varga in his lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
It's his third year using the world-class facilities at the Bundaberg Clay Target Club and follows a visit by the Slovak Ambassador last year.
“By the end of 2017 I started looking for a country where the conditions would be right for me,” Erik said.
“Because Europe gets really cold from November to January, I was looking for countries with warm and summery weather.
“It was actually my wife Patricia who suggested Australia. “
Erik Varga appreciates Bundaberg facilities
“We contacted the Australian Shooting Federation to advise us on suitable shooting ranges for trap shooting.
“I had a specific need for a shooting range with Mattarelli machines.
“The then national coach of Australia Adam Vella recommended the shooting range in Bundaberg and contacted the Bylsma family.
“Their sons Sam and Adam are shooting and competing in the same discipline as me.
“Their younger son Adam has achieved pretty good results. So far so it was great, because they could train with me.
“They also assisted me in finding accommodation, recommended a physiotherapist, etc.
“They arranged the exact same ammunition I needed.
“They really helped me with absolutely everything.
“I would like to thank them for all the kindness and support they have provided for me.”
As well as using the facilities on Kay McDuff Drive, Erik and his family are becoming tourism ambassadors.
Erik Varga and family become tourism ambassadors
“This year is our third consecutive year in Australia and so far we have been to many places,” Erik said.
“Over those three years, in our spare time, we managed to visit a few beautiful places including Mon Repos, Lady Elliot Island, Fraser Island and more.
“The Great Barrier Reef was spectacular, we saw so many turtles over there. Fraser was a fantastic adventure, also the rainforest.
“We really like Australia.”
Erik Varga said there were a number of people and organisations who have made his training in Australia possible.
“I would like to thank the Australian Shooting Federation, the Slovak Embassy, especially to Adriana for their helpfulness, also the Slovak Shooting Federation.
“Huge thanks go to the Bylsma family, my friend Adrian Doherty and of course, our Slovak acquaintances living in Australia.
“Many thanks also to the shooting club in Bundaberg, which allowed me to train here and also to all the good people I've met here.
“Everybody here is very kind.
“Big thanks again to everyone.”
Erik set for Olympic Games in Tokyo
Eric’s aim is firmly set on the Tokyo Olympics to be held from 24 July to 9 August this year after facing many challenges.
“The most emotional moment for me was when I was able to return to the shooting range after a severe injury and surgeries, after a year's break, and then at the world championship in Korea I won silver in trap and gold in trap mix team.
“I earned two quota places there for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“That was the satisfaction for all the pain I had gone through.
“Every athlete would like to win an Olympic medal; I would be very happy if I did.
“I will do my best. We'll see if luck is going to be on my side.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor, Jack Dempsey, wished Erik all the best for the Tokyo Olympics.
“When the Slovak Ambassador Tomas Ferko visited us here in Bundaberg he told us how much Erik appreciates the quality and services of our sporting facilities,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“We’re delighted that Bundaberg is hosting an Olympic athlete and that Erik has had such a warm welcome.
“He can be sure the Bundaberg Region community will be behind him and watching his progress and hopefully success with great interest.
“We wish Erik the very best of success and thank him for using our world-class facilities for his training.”
To keep up to date with Erik's Olympic journey follow his Facebook page.
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