Sedgman misses final after hitting snooze button

THE hype and excitement of making her Olympic Games debut were not enough to wake Alethea Sedgman as the teenage shooter almost slept through her event.

Sedgman didn't hear her 5am alarm on the first day of competition in London which threw her preparation for the 10m air rifle event into disarray.

But after waking up just 10 minutes before the bus departed, the 18-year-old missed a spot in the gold-medal final by 10 points at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Sedgman didn't go to the opening ceremony on Friday, but she stayed up to watch the Australian team march.

She set her alarm and hit the snooze button for ''five more minutes'' when she fell back asleep.

The next thing she remembers is roommate Lauryn Mark waking her up an hour and 10 minutes later.

The room allocation for the Australian shooting team was one of the most controversial points leading into the Games with husband and wife Russell and Lauryn Mark being forced to sleep in separate rooms.

But Sedgman was relieved their wish wasn't granted as Lauryn saved her from an embarrassing late arrival to the first event of the Games.

''Lauryn woke me up at 6.15am and the bus was leaving at 6.25am and she just yelled, 'Alethea, you have to get up!','' Sedgman said.

''I just went run, run, run ... I slept straight through my alarm. I've never done that before, I'm an idiot. I wanted to shoot a PB and I didn't, but I'm pretty satisfied. I could have let the nerves get to me but I didn't.''

Australia's two competitors — Sedgman and Robyn van Nus — both missed the eight-competitor final.

It was Sedgman's only event of her first Olympics after she burst on to the international stage as a 16-year-old when she won gold at the Commonwealth Games two years ago.

Sedgman finished the women's 10-metre air rifle in 52nd place.

She would have needed a personal best to qualify for finals at the Olympics.

Sedgman finished with 387, missing finals by 10 shots.

See the full story in Monday's Mail-Times.

Earlier:

NATIMUK teenager Alethea Sedgman will compete in the biggest competition of her life tomorrow.

Sedgman, 18, will represent Australia in shooting at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Wimmera Mail-Times journalist LEIGH ROGERS spoke with her about her Olympic journey before she left for London....

WHEN Alethea Sedgman was six, her parents Iain and Connie Sedgman took her and older sister Ayesha to watch the 2000 Olympic Games torch relay pass through Horsham.

They were among a crowd of 6000 people that watched a lighting of a cauldron at Sawyer Park.

Alethea can recall her parents trying to teach her about the history of the Games, but she wasn't interested.

"I remember just really wanting this little badge that had the logos on it," she said.

"I thought they were really cute."

That is the down-to-earth teen's earliest Olympic memory.

Fast forward 12 years and she has her eyes on a different prize.

Alethea will shoot for a gold medal in the women's 10-metre air rifle competition tomorrow.

It is the first gold medal decided in the Games.

Alethea isn't putting too much pressure on herself.

She just hopes to shoot well.

"It's nice to represent your country. It is an honour and goes down in history," she said.

"It would be a big surprise if I won gold.

"It would be really cool if I could, but I'm not going to set my sights that high.

"I'd be happy with a personal best, but I just want to do well and perform the best I can on the day."

Grateful

The easy-going teen is just grateful to be in London, with her position at the Games not assured until last month.

Australia only earnt one women's quota place in its rifle team, which was used to include Australian number one Robyn Van Nus.

But the sport's peak body, Australian International Shooting Limited, decided to use one of its men's quota places to include Alethea, the number two ranked female, in its five-member rifle team.

As a result, Alethea's boyfriend, Western Australian shooter Chris Gulvin, missed out on an Olympic spot.

Chris had earnt the final quota place in the team.

"It was up to Chris or a New Zealand shooter in the final competition and luckily Chris earnt the spot, otherwise I wouldn't be going," she said.

Alethea said the couple was aware selectors could use discretionary powers to give her his spot.

"He knew I was a higher chance, just because my performances at international level were just a bit higher than his," she said.

"He hasn't had much experience at international level, but he is still doing really well."

Alethea, who learnt of her Olympic selection while on a training camp in the Czech Republic, said the decision hadn't upset them.

"I was like 'if you get selected, well good for you' and he was the same," she said.

Without a guaranteed spot, Alethea admitted the months leading up to her selection were stressful.

She said she didn't let the pressure get to her.

"It's more that I wanted to shoot well, not that I had to succeed for the Olympics," she said.

"It's nice that I got there, but it was more I wanted to do well."

Success

This strong desire to succeed has served Alethea well in her short career.

In late 2007, Alethea decided she wanted to join her father as a member of the Horsham Smallbore Rifle Club.

She competed in her first open competition in 2008 and within two years was competing at international level.

It was the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in September 2010 where she shot to prominence, winning a gold medal in the women's 50-metre three position rifle event.

Alethea, 16 at the time, returned home to a heroes welcome in the Wimmera, receiving a street parade in her home town of Natimuk and being presented with the keys to the city by Michael Ryan, the Horsham Rural City Council Mayor at the time.

Accolades followed, being named the Wimmera Sports Star of the Year and Victorian Institute of Sport Youth Athlete of the Year.

She was also a finalist in the 2010 Victorian Sports Awards and Sports Performer Awards and won a Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship.

Alethea rubbed shoulders with sports celebrities and found in herself in demand with the media and for guest speaking roles with community groups.

But the fanfare didn't phase her.

"I was still the same normal person," she said.

"Going back to school was just the same and mum and dad still harp on at me, that hasn't changed."

Alethea has visited several Wimmera primary schools since becoming a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, sharing her stories with students.

She said it was something she enjoyed.

"The kids are really cool. The first time I went I started reading out a speech that I'd prepared, but then I thought they were going to be bored and fall asleep, so I just let them ask questions," she said.

"That seems to work better.

"I went to one school and I was meant to be there for half an hour and I ended up being there for two hours.

"It's cool to see, I know I was like that back then."

Alethea said she had been asked all sorts of questions from the admiring students.

"The common ones are, is shooting really a sport? Can we see your rifle?" she said.

"Sometimes they ask me if I've ever shot anyone. That kind of scares me. I'm like, no, that is illegal."

*** For more, see Friday's edition of the Mail-Times.

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