All-female shooting team Super Six pulls trigger on gender bias

Krysta Anderson
Krysta Anderson

March 8, 2022

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For this year’s International Women’s Day, women all across the world are sharing how they break the bias in their passions and professions to level the playing field and create gender equality. Today, Flair honours a group of strong, talented, powerful, and competitive women who aren’t all talk; they also walk the ‘rifle’ walk. Meet Jamaica’s all-female shooting team – the Super Six.

Meet the all-female shooting team – Super Six. From left: Constable Shayon Francis; forensic scientist Yeonie Campbell; team captain Detective Corporal Sasha-Gay Mullings; Constable Sheresa Solan; businesswoman Renee Rickhi; and Corporal Kayla Keane. PHOTOS BY RICARDO MAKYN/CHIEF PHOTO EDITOR

The team consists of four members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force — Detective Corporal Sasha-Gay Mullings, Corporal Kayla Keane, and Constable Shayon Francis, who are assigned to the Corporate Communications Unit, and Constable Sheresa Solan, who is assigned to the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime unit. Two civilians were also recruited – Renee Rickhi, a businesswoman and Yeonie Campbell, a forensic scientist – to round off the team formed by Superintendent Steven Brown.

“[Superintendent Brown] had the vision to show that there are tactical women who can manoeuvre any obstacle, even in a male-dominated organisation or event,” Detective Corporal Mullings, captain of the Super Six team, explained.

An official sport since the 1800s, competitive shooting has become a staple at the Olympics. Tested on skill, power speed, accuracy, and precision, the Super Six so far has competed in the pistol categories of limited/standard, production, open and carry optics, much to the delight and excitement of the attentive audience. They have also competed in the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) category and managed to transform an initially tepid response. “An all-female team competing in a male-dominated event like SWAT took them by surprise. They didn’t take us seriously at first, but by the end of the event, I knew we had earned their respect. The audience was amazing. They cheered us on, and the energy they brought fuelled our competitive nature,” Rickhi highlighted.

MEET THE TEAM

DETECTIVE CORPORAL SASHA-GAYE MULLINGS

Detective Corporal Sasha-Gaye Mullings’ joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force in 2013. A lover of both rifle and handgun, she confessed that she had not shot a rifle in nine years before training in October to prepare for the SWAT roundup. “For now, I stick to handguns. I love a .40 calibre weapon, but I also love the 9mm Glock pistol. I have been introduced to optical sights, and I am considering adding that to my weapon soon,” the detective corporal shared.

RENEE RICKHI

A member of the JRA for many years, Renee Rickhi, an entrepreneur was inspired to shoot competitively because of her husband, who is a very active practical pistol shooter. She found the sport very intriguing and shoots a number of forms as a result. “I shoot a lot of disciplines, practical pistol, rifle, sporting clays (clay pigeon shooting) and skeet,” she added.

CORPORAL KAYLA KEANE

Corporal Kayla Keane has been a police officer for over 10 years, where she learnt to shoot. She has been doing been doing practical pistol shooting for approximately six months, and credits the sport for improving her skills. “Shooting as a sport has significantly improved my shooting ability,” she told Flair. The corporal shared that her shooting strength is her athleticism. Physically stronger than most, she can compete for longer without getting exhausted. “I prefer shooting with a Glock 17 as opposed to a Glock 19. It’s always going to be a Glock for me until I can afford a race gun,” Keane added.

YEONIE CAMPBELL

Yeonie Campbell got involved in shooting as a spectator of the practical pistol matches held at the JRA. Pretty soon, the forensic scientist became a range officer and a competitor, “At the time, there were only a few lady shooters, but I have never been intimidated by this as I had always been involved in male-dominated sports.” Her eagerness to do well, pure love for the sport and athleticism are her biggest strengths.

CONSTABLE SHERESA SOLAN

Constable Sheresa Solan became fascinated by pistol shooting when she accompanied Superintendent Brown to the JRA range. Based on her skills, it was recommended that she take her interest beyond just mere enthusiasm. “My strength in shooting is accuracy, but my weakness is speed. My first time competing was nerve-racking, but as we engaged in more shooting activities, I became a bit more relaxed, comfortable and confident,” she shared.

CONSTABLE SHAYON FRANCIS

Constable Shayon Francis, who shoots in the limited category, was happy to be invited to join this ground breaking team. With determination as her strength, her weapon of choice is the pistol. She does enjoy shooting a rifle as well. “At first, I was nervous about the competition because we were competing against males. But after the first challenge, I saw that we were true contenders, beating some of them at the sport.”

Detective Corporal Mullings is grateful that the Jamaica Rifle Association (JRA) has adopted the Super Six and has been supportive and instrumental in their training. “Big up to our main coach Anthony ‘TJ’ Johnson and our Welfare Manager/Rifle Coach Robin Rickhi,” she told Flair. She is also grateful for the support of Minister of Gender and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange.

Coach Johnson shares Detective Corporal Mullings’ enthusiasm. For him, it has been an absolute pleasure training women who are not only physically capable and cooperative, but who have the mental capacity to readily absorb information and are eager to learn. He applauded his phenomenal team, saying: “The Super Six ladies are of that mettle, rising to the task and performing like veteran shooters at the SWAT competition. Their every move was scrutinised by spectators, competitors, and the judges. They were the talk of the competition. Dem dress boasey, sah. Dem cya miss. Dem good, sah. They performed amazingly well, with just three weeks of training, beating many of the all-male teams,” he said of his team.

This all-female shooting team is ready to break barriers and biases.

The Super Six looks forward to representing Jamaica in the Pan American Games later this year, and is currently venturing into another shooting sport, the International Practical Shooting Confederation, where Johnson anticipates that his team will also do well.

“I believe we will achieve great things. It’s hard not to when you’re surrounded by ladies that are dedicated, committed, willing to work hard, and accept change readily. We will bring fame to our little island. We will shine like the North Star to show the way that you can achieve great things with dedication, knowledge, and hard work. Super Six, on target every time,” he said.

Until then, they prepare in earnest, preparing for a match on May 28, and hoping to secure sponsors to offset the cost of sourcing ammunition for training purposes.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com

Krysta Anderson

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Krysta Anderson

Tackles sex and relationships with honesty and openness. For months, she took readers on a journey of self-exploration with personal dating column 'Single but Iffy to Mingle'. Now she's ready for an even bigger adventure.

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