CAF member on target for Pan Am Games

Pictured: Captain Mark Hynes, with his teammates who also made the Pan Am shooting team, at the team Training Camp held 17-20 May at the Pan Am Legacy Shooting Centre in Cookstown, Ont. From left: Lt Cindy Luk (CIC) – 50M 3 Position Rifle; Capt Shannon Westlake (CIC) – 50M 3 Position Rifle & 10M Rifle; Lt Gregory Sych (CIC) – 50M 3 Position Rifle; Capt Mark Hynes (Reg F)– 10M Pistol; MWO James Sandall (Reg F) – 25M Rapid Fire Pistol; Sgt Patricia Boulay (PRes) – 25M Sport Pistol (alternate). ***Sur la photo : Le capitaine Mark Hynes, accompagné de ses coéquipiers aussi été sélectionnés pour l’équipe de tir des Jeux panaméricains, lors du camp d’entraînement tenu du 17 au 20 mai au Pan Am Legacy Shooting Centre de Cookstown (Ontario). De gauche à droite : la Lt Cindy Luk (CIC) – carabine 50 m 3 positions; la Capt Shannon Westlake (CIC) – carabine 50 m 3 positions et carabine 10 m; le Lt Gregory Sych (CIC) – carabine 50 m 3 positions; le Capt Mark Hynes (F rég) – pistolet 10 m; l’Adjum James Sandall (F rég) – pistolet tir rapide 25 m; la Sgt Patricia Boulay (P rés) –pistolet sport 25 m (combiné).

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Every four years, sports fans cheer for athletes gathered at the Pan Am Games from throughout the Americas as they compete in summer sports. Canadians will want to tune in to this year’s games, held in Lima, Peru from July 26 to August 11, as Canada’s own Captain Mark Hynes competes against some of the world’s best shooters.

Captain Hynes was selected by the Shooting Federation of Canada’s High Performing Committee to represent Canada in the individual 10 meter pistol and the team 10 meter pistol events. Both events give athletes one hour and 15 minutes in which to shoot 60 shots into a bullseye that is 11.5 mm in diameter, from 10 meters away while only using one hand.

Captain Hynes, a member of the International Military Sports Council, knows what it takes to deal with challenges and pressures, such as those presented by his sport. The infantry captain joined the Regular Force in 1999, after serving two years in the Reserves. He served tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan before transitioning into his current role with Chief Military Personnel Command’s Director Research Personnel Generation as an officer for Life Cycle Management for occupations in Ottawa.

Captain Hynes, who attended a training camp with the rest of the Canadian shooting team in Cookstown, Ont., in June, says the sport requires competitors to stay focussed and under control: the discipline is similar to archery or golf in terms of precision. “I try to visualize myself in the moment and how I am going to approach obstacles and challenges,” he explained.

He uses technical books, mental training, webinars, and visualization techniques to optimize his performance and constantly works to enhance his concentration and focus. For example, Captain Hynes routinely plays talk radio or music in the background while training, to help him deal with distractions. This dedication to his craft has resulted in his winning three gold and one silver medal at the Provincial Pistol Championship held over the Canada Day weekend, and consistently ranking in the top third of the nationals since 2009.

In addition to training for an hour and a half each evening—shooting at the RA Gun Club at the RA Centre, or at home, where he’s built a personal range—Captain Hynes is also a Scouts leader and coaches his son’s hockey team.

Captain Hynes inherited his love for the sport from his father, Raymond Hynes, an RCMP officer, now retired, who got him involved in the sport and has been coaching him since he was in his early teens. Captain Hynes won his first medal at the 1991 Canada Winter games under the watch of his father, who served as the team’s head coach.

With more than a dozen major competitions and 32 years of experience under his belt Captain Hynes is considered a longstanding member in the shooting community. His goal at the Games in Lima is to achieve a personal best and make the finals. “It has been a long journey to get to the Pan Am Games. It is a validation of years of work,” he said.

Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces community will proudly cheer him on, along with his 17 teammates in the Pan Am shooting team.

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