“When it comes to the big stage in Rio, I am first and foremost excited.”
At just 20-years-old, the USA’s Mckenna Dahl will be one of the youngest female shooters to take to the firing line at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Dahl has been gaining rapid momentum since her inception into the sport and continues to scale her way up the world rankings.
Bursting with youth and vitality, Dahl remains focused on what will be the biggest event of her life.
“My goal in Rio is to perform the way I know I can and make myself proud above all else,” Dahl said.
“I expect this to be the hardest competition I have ever competed in. Standing at the top of the medal stand at the Paralympic Games has been a goal of mine for a very long time.”
Dahl turned heads at the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany, where she earned a quota spot in R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2) and broke the national record scoring a total of 626.7.
Her bid for Paralympic selection was enhanced considerably throughout the 2015 season with multiple top 20 results.
“This last year has given me more determination and drive than ever before,” Dahl said. “I had set high goals for myself and fell short as I went through equipment issues.
“However, I think the challenges I faced have made me a better athlete in the long run.
“When the US Paralympic Shooting Team was announced, I was so overwhelmed with emotion.
“My dreams became a reality in that moment.”
With added strength and determination, Dahl competed at the IPC Shooting World Cups in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Thailand and Poland, earlier in 2016.
“In Al Ain, UAE, I made the first R5 final of my shooting career,” Dahl recalled.
“I continued the momentum on in Bangkok, making the R4 final for the first time in a year.
“Before the Poland World Cup, my coach and I travelled to Germany to have my shooting jacket re-made to fit me correctly.
“This has been a huge step in helping to improve my standing position and make me a viable contender in finals.
“In Poland, I shot a new prone personal best and went on to finish fifth in the final.
“A week later in Germany, I achieved yet another personal best in prone with a 635.8.
“I am thrilled with my progress, and look to continue this upward slope with my peak occurring at Rio.”
After a quick trip home to visit her family in Washington, Dahl returned to the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado for the USA National Shooting Championships where she once again improved her personal best R4 score (637.5) and collected a silver medal.
With just two months to go until the ultimate event, Dahl is looking very sharp and peaking at just the right time.
“When it comes to the big stage in Rio, I am first and foremost excited,” she said.
“I have the opportunity to represent my country on the world stage and that is completely humbling. I hope to make my country, and everyone who has supported my journey, proud.”
Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.