Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 41

and I felt a whole lot better after that. Let it go
... get back on your feet and then get back at
it, which is exactly what I did."
Nguyen was determined to return to active
duty. He was eventually recruited by SFC
Armando Ayala, current assistant coach of the
USA Shooting Paralympic Team, but back then
he was the coach of the Paralympic Division
of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.
"It sounded like a cool job at the time,"
Nguyen said. "I was trying to get back into
the Army and didn't know where to go at the
time. After a 10 minute phone conversation
with SFC Ayala, being a shooter for the
Army piqued my interest. Over the course
of 2½ years, the sport became more and
more rewarding and exciting. I love to
shoot guns, even if it's an air rifle or a .22 LR
smallbore. Now I'm dedicating the next few
years to making that Paralympic Team."
Prior to the Army and prior to his injury,
Nguyen was an avid swimmer and water
polo player throughout his high school years
in Westminster, CA.
"Our team was competitive, we won a lot
of league championships for both water polo
and swimming, but my years in high school
were nothing compared to how competitive
I am now in shooting," Nguyen said. "I had
a height disadvantage in both sports, and in
high school, a lot of the competitors were taller
than me. I was right around 4'11" at the time,
but that didn't stop me from enjoying the sport
and wanting to win. In shooting, there is no
height disadvantage; in shooting, to me it's
a matter of experience, the amount time and
effort you put into your training, and having
that tough mental focus for every shot." 
Now a soldier-athlete in the U.S. Army
World-Class Athlete Program (WCAP),

Nguyen is focused full-time on making his
Paralympic dream come true.
"It's really a job for me, this is pretty much
what I'm paid to do," Nguyen said. "To
me, it's more than a job, it's a lifestyle, it's
a career. I've enjoyed shooting this sport
ever since I first picked up a rifle. I enjoy
shooting and I'm going to put full effort into
everything I do for this career."
Though he's been training for a couple years,
Nguyen didn't make his international Paralympic competition debut until the World Shooting
Para Sport match at his home range in Fort
Benning in June 2017, where Nguyen won silver in R3 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1) and
gold in R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1).
"It was an adrenaline rush!" Nguyen said.
"I was nervous, shaky, but at the same time
I was overwhelmed with excitement. I had
never won at a big competition like this and
now it's been my drive to win again and
represent Team USA overseas."
Nguyen also competed in the 2017 NRA
Smallbore Prone Championship, where he
and two-time Olympian Michael McPhail
both shot 400-38X, with McPhail besting his
fellow soldier for third place.
Later in 2017, Nguyen went on to compete
at the WSPS World Cups in Bangkok,
Thailand, and most recently the WSPS World
Cup in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, where
he's qualified for virtually every Final, but has
narrowly missed out on a medal thus far.
Next up for Nguyen will be to compete with
the USA Shooting Team heading to the World
Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) World Championship this month in Cheongju, South Korea.
The World Championship marks the first opportunity for athletes to earn quotas for the
2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. *

SSUSA.ORG | MAY 2018

41


http://www.usashooting.org http://www.SSUSA.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - May 2018

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 40
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 41
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 42
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover4
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