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On target with The Super Six - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
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On target with The Super Six

'ON target every time' is the slogan used by the all-female team –—The Super Six — who participated in the recently concluded National Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Round Up Competition.

The Super Six, the first of its kind to compete in the National SWAT, consists of four policewomen and two civilians from the Jamaica Rifle Association (JRA). The women told All Woman that when they were approached by Superintendent Steve Brown about participating in SWAT, they were excited and a bit nervous; however, once they got the hand of the requirements, there was no turning back.

“Superintendent Brown told us he wanted to bring something special and that was an all-female team. That has never existed before,” Corporal Kayla Keane said. “I was ready.”

That sentiment was echoed by the other women — Renee Rickhi, Yeonie Campbell, Detective Corporal Sasha-Gay Mullings, Constable Shayon Francis and Constable Sheresa Solan.

Preparation saw the women undergoing three weeks of training to get physically, mentally and skilfully ready as the competition requires navigating an obstacle course in the shortest time possible, while displaying excellent tactical skills. The three weeks consisted of two days in weeks one and two and four days in week three.

Geared up and ready for the competition, the women journeyed to the National Police College of Jamaica on October 23, but were met with snickering and sotto voce comments that they were there as cheerleaders.

“We were ready but the males thought we were here for a fashion show. We had on an arrival suit — yellow jersey and multicoloured tights,” Mullings said.

Undaunted the women said they kept focused, ignored the comments and gave it their best shot. With Rickhi as the 'sniper' the women quickly showed their competitors they meant business.

“When Ren went out and cleared the path there was a hush. In one shot she took down the first steel plate, which others took two or three shots to bring down. Everyone was silent and now taking the team serious,” Assistant Coach Robin Rickhi said.

The greatest challenge for the women was the rope challenge, which initially was not part of the competition, but was thrown back in last minute.

When the smoke cleared, the Super Six, as the first all female SWAT Round Up team, finished eighth out of 17 competitors, beating several top operational teams.

The team coach, Anthony ''TJ'' Johnson, said since the competition the women have moved into practical pistol training with their teammate — Campbell — currently the only active female in the sport. Johnson's intent is for the women to participate in several local events to continue honing their skills with hopes of eventually representing Jamaica at international sport shooting competitions.

“We want to get them involved in practical pistol shooting and take practical pistol shooting to a different level. We don't have many females in it, Yeonie is the only competitor, so the next five are now joining her. It is a sport in 100 countries worldwide and there is a world shoot every three years and Jamaica has sent teams to the last three world shoots. We're planing a year of events and see where we go from there. We have Fast and Furious in three weeks and then there's our Christmas Hamper fun shoot in December,” he said.

In order to see the dream through, the women need sponsorship.

“The JRA has adopted them but we have to seek help otherwise to support them. This is to the tune of $5 million to cover equipment, attire, proper shoes, the rigs, knee and elbow pads and the cost of ammunition for training, which is very high,” Johnson said.

Assistant Coach Rickhi added, “There are several international competitions which are three gun shoots and we want them to travel abroad to these tournaments as a team and represent Jamaica. It's not just about a woman shooting up the place, but it is an actual legitimate recognised sport internationally. These women are the next step in changing the culture and mindset of Jamaicans thinking guns are just for violence. It's not. A major part is about the sport.”

Moreover, The Super Six have formed a bond and friendship, which they said was pretty easy and seemed destined. Their participation in SWAT has also seen an increased interest from women wanting to join the JRA.

While happy that their involvement is making a positive impact, the women say they are taking it in stride and focused on correcting the mistakes in preparation for next year.

“While people are showering us with praises we look at the mistakes we made and the mistakes others made, and we are assessing those because next year when we go back, the trophy will be placed at the JRA for six months and the JCF Headquarters for the other six months.”

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