Shooting requires composure, hand-eye coordination and calmness under pressure, so going up to receive a prestigious award for an incredible year in the sport would seem, in comparison, to be a dawdle.
“When I heard my name being read out I was stunned, I was like, ‘really’? It was so nerve-wracking, I was trying to make sure I didn’t trip up on my way up to the stage!”
Seonaid McIntosh, who was brought up in Shieldhill and went to Dollar Academy, was named the Scottish Sportsperson of the Year last month.
“That was epic, so cool,” she said. “I was sitting at the head table. I didn’t have a clue I was going to win. There were so many top athletes and to win just meant so much.”
Seonaid (23) has had an outstanding year. She’s the first British woman ever to win an individual ISSF world championship title, she became the world number one in the rifle three positions, and she’s also won three World Cup golds, two silvers and two bronze.
“If you told me last year I would have won three World Cup gold medals, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said.
“It’s exciting being up there on the podium. It’s a nice feeling hearing your own national anthem. My dad’s always out there with the camera trying to take pictures.”
Seonaid comes from good shooting stock. Her mother is four-times Commonwealth Games medalist Shirley McIntosh, while her father and coach is former Scottish shooter Donald, and she has an older sister Jennifer who has won numerous shooting accolades. But she admits she wasn’t drawn to the sport until she was a teenager.
“It’s not something I dreamed of as a kid,” Seonaid conceded.
“When I was younger I didn’t want to do shooting, it was my sister’s thing. I shot at school and I was pretty good, but it wasn’t until the Olympics in 2012 and watching Jen I started to think about it.”
So what’s been the key to her success?
“There’s not really been any difference in what I’m doing, I guess it is just continual progress.
“I do quite a lot of training four or five days a week, five hours a day. I do cardio fitness and gym work. It’s such a mental sport, so I work on that too. It’s all the little things, you’re trying to gain that half a percent. I suppose now it’s my time, and being number one is pretty cool.”
That’s not the only thing she’s been targeting, she’s also earned a first class degree in electrical engineering and, while the shooting season is finished, she’s doing an open university degree in biology.
“I like to keep busy,” she said. She’ll take time off over Christmas and spend time with the family. But the Olympics are on the horizon in Tokyo 2020 and it will be Seonaid’s first. She earned a quota place finishing fourth at the World Championships in 2018.
She said: “I’m really excited, I’ve never been to the Olympics before. The team hasn’t been announced yet so I won’t find out definitely until June.
“Nerves, pressure? I’ve no idea how I will feel or react. I’ve got to go and prepare and give myself the best chance.”
How does she go about trying to top the last 12 months?
“I’m not sure I can. I’ll just do the best I can as long I can say that, I’ll be happy.”