He’s one of the hardest working politicians in the country.
But, Hunter MP Dan Repacholi will still find the time to target his sixth Olympic Games, with his campaign starting at the 2023 Oceania Championships (OCH) in Queensland this week.
From 30 October to 6 November, the 41-year-old Cessnock marksman is teaming up with Bailey Groves and Matthew Sydes for the 10m air pistol event at the Brisbane International Shooting Centre.
It’s just the first step in his quest to reach Paris in 2024.
The OCH will provide opportunities for Repacholi, and his colleagues, to secure Olympic Quota places for their National Federation.
“This is where the journey begins,” he said.
“If we shoot well and win a quota spot for Australia then we’ll go into a selection period.
“That consists of a meeting in the middle of January (Brisbane), another two in February (Sydney) and a further one in March (Brisbane).
“The top three shooters will then go over to the World Cup in Rio.
“And, if we shoot a specific score, which puts us in a certain amount of the competitors there – I think we have to rank in the top 30 – and still be No 1 in Australia, then we should be lucky enough to make the team.”
Repacholi, who claimed the federal seat following the retirement of Joel Fitzgibbon, was just 22 when he made his Olympic debut at Athens in 2004.
He followed up with appearances at Beijing (2008), London (2012), Rio (2016) and Tokyo (2020).
“I’m definitely setting my sights on Paris,” the larger-than-life member told the Newcastle Weekly.
“However, I realise it’s going to be a hard, hard campaign to get there.
“This [politics] is a demanding role I’m in now and every role I’ve had has been demanding.
“So, if it was easy, everyone would be trying to do it.
“But, my goal’s always been to go to Olympic Games… and to succeed there.
“I haven’t done that yet [win] and, honestly, that’s what’s driven me to attend five and what is also driving me to, hopefully, make a sixth.”
Instead, Repacholi has reaped the spoils on the Commonwealth Games stage.
He’s picked up three gold medals – 50m pistol pairs (Melbourne 2006), 10m air pistol (Glasgow 2014) and 50m pistol (Gold Coast 2018).
Not to be outdone, bronze has also come his way in the 10m air pistol pairs (Melbourne 2006), 10m air pistol (Delhi 2010) and 50m pistol (Glasgow 2014).
So, will competing against the best sportsmen be a nice change in pace from dealing with the Coalition in Canberra?
“They’re very different pressures,” Repacholi said with a laugh.
“Don’t get me wrong, I truly love my job and what I do in politics.
“Some people might not believe that, but it’s true.
“However, I also have a massive passion for pistol shooting.
“I love to compete, I love to put myself out there to try and win… while representing my country.
“The training’s tougher these days though.
“There’s no doubt about that.
“So, I do a lot of mental training and then I fit in everything else when I can around my job.
“But, I guess politics is helping me in some way.
“I believe I’m more mentally tough, a lot more resilient because of what I do.
“At the end of the day, 95% of what I do comes down to mental approach to what I’m doing.
“The other 5% is actually the physical work I put in, so the preparation is definitely different.”
In the meantime, he’s keen to pack his bags for Brisbane.
“I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait to compete in the Oceania Championships and, hopefully, compete again and do the trials,” Repacholi said.
“There will be six or seven, maybe even 10, trying out.
“They’ll all be out doing their best and capable of making the team.
“So, for me, it’s certainly a good challenge.”
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