WHEN Michael Coles says he has set his sights on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games, he means it quite literally.
It is because the Bathurst trap athlete is hoping to earn a spot as part of the Australian Olympic shooting team.
Over the 14 years Coles has been shooting he has enjoyed wearing the green and gold and competing on foreign ranges against some of the world's best, but to participate in the Olympics would exceed any past achievements.
Australia has earned the maximum allowable two spots for male trap shooters at the Tokyo Games, with Coles one of 11 who is eligible for selection. Others include the likes of Adam Vella and Oceania champion Mitch Iles, the men who wore green and gold in Rio.
The Bathurst shooter recorded his minimum qualifying score at the World Championships last year to be in contention for Olympic selection.
But to take that next step he must perform well in four selection events, beginning with this week's Commonwealth and National Championships at the Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club.
"Both these events will go towards Tokyo selection. Then there's another selection event at the end of February in Melbourne and a selection event in mid-March at Cecil Park in Sydney, which is the final event," Coles explained.
"Out of those four events, it's your best three scores which count."
Both the Commonwealth and National Titles consist of 125 targets then a final for the top six shooters after that. It means consistency, as well as accuracy, are required but Coles has the faith he is good enough to challenge for selection.
"I'm definitely a chance, I feel like the preparations have been good and throughout last year I improved on the things I needed to. So I am ready to have a go and see where it takes us," he said.
"That's basically the goal, to give it a red-hot go and compete for one of these two spots. I believe I am definitely capable of getting one of those two spots, it's just a matter of executing at these events."
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Coles has been getting in plenty of practice the last eight weeks to prepare himself for the Commonwealth and National Championships and the two other selection events which will follow.
On top of that, he will carry with him the confidence that comes with having already represented Australia on the world scene. Last year he enjoyed one of his career highlights when winning pairs gold at the Qatar Open.
"It's a good confidence booster to have been there and done it before, at the same time the past doesn't guarantee what will happen tomorrow," the 29-year-old said.
"So it's a matter of making sure I execute on the day, that's what will decide the outcome.
"Given it's two selection events in one week, it's a massive chance to get ahead while at the same time you could be behind leaving there. If you can really nail the Newcastle event, you are taking a lot of pressure off yourself for the next two events."
The Australian Olympic shooting team will be announced in late March.