Commonwealth Games debutante Kerry Bell ready to compete

On target: Kerry Bell will make his Commonwealth Games debut in April. Picture: Chris Lane
On target: Kerry Bell will make his Commonwealth Games debut in April. Picture: Chris Lane

Kerry Bell is proof that age is just a number.

The Leumeah resident will make his Commonwealth Games debut in April at the ripe age of 47.

When he competes at the prestigious competition, it will truly be a case of men – or man – against boys.

“There are a lot of younger (competitors) – the youngest is 16. But it’s nice because I’m that little bit older, there’s not that much pressure on me which means I can enjoy it a bit more,” he said.

But the remarkable story of the mechanic who will compete in the air pistol event, doesn’t end there.

Bell may be one of Australia’s finest shots, but he only fired a gun for the first time in 2012.

His rapid rise to become one of the nation’s top marksmen was something that he certainly didn’t envisage when he first attended the Campbelltown Liverpool District Pistol Club – where he is now a member – with a friend for the first time.

“A friend was going to club and wanted some company so I went along. As soon as I had a shot, it just drew me in,” he said.

“Before that day I would never have contemplated representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games. It never occurred to me that something like that would actually happen.”

While his journey to the top of the sport’s elite has been quick, he said the qualification process to get to the Games was quite long and enduring. He was particularly thankful to his bosses at Southwest Automotive – Sue and Les Taylor – for allowing him time off to compete.

“I spent most of 2017 doing competition to get selected,” he said.

“There were five qualification events we could do which were spread out from Victoria to Brisbane – with a couple in Sydney.

“I also traveled to Germany in January to compete against overseas shooters. The level they shoot at is much higher.”

A podium finish would be nice, but Bell said just being able to compete at the Commonwealth Games was an unexpected feat in itself.

“I just want to make sure I do my best on the day,” he said.

The Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast from April 4 through to April 15.