Picture Credits: ISSF-Sports.org
2008 Olympic Bronze, 2015 ISSF World Cup Series Gold (10m Air Rifle and 50m Rifle 3 Positions Women), Silver medals at the ISSF World Cup Stage (10m Air Rifle and 50m Rifle 3 Positions) and now the decorative “ISSF Shooter of the year 2015”. Yes, we are talking about Snjezana Pejcic. Snjezana started shooting when she was just 13. She first appeared on the national team when she was 15 and she won her first big medal when she was 19 years old. And then there was no looking back. We talked to her about her career & feats. Here are the interview excerpts:
When we talk about shooting we know that it is one of the toughest sports in terms of concentration & endurance. How do you train yourself to be game ready?
Amongst other things, I work on my concentration and focus at training, and competitions are the best places to check what is your weak spot. I’m also working with my psychologist and we focus on things that are currently my biggest problem.
How tough is to break into top league at international level and what all sacrifices one needs to put into?
“I didn’t sacrifice anything”.
Everything I did, I did it from love to the sport and I would do it again. It’s hard to come on top because you have to work really hard and there are so many great shooters out there. But, what is even harder is to stay on top.
How good are the facilities in Croatia when we talk about training?
Not that good. My air range is ok, but I don’t have close small-bore range, which is a problem, considering cold and long winters in Croatia. I can go outdoors only in April, and that is quite late if you want to be ready for the first World Cup.
How important is infrastructure in shooting as a sport?
“It’s important, but not crucial”.
I think that saying ‘where’s the will, there’s the way’ apply wonderful here. When you don’t have everything you need, you have to be imaginative.
How do you rate the availability of equipment in Croatia? How do you rate the cost part involved therein?
Well, considering that usually clubs are the ones that pay for equipment and ammo, it depends of club’s financial status. It’s not great, but we somehow manage.
Hurdles you faced in your entire career?
The biggest obstacle in my carrier was in 1999, when I wanted to change the club. I wasn’t allowed to do it if we didn’t pay for transfer. Considering there’s no money in shooting, we couldn’t pay it so I had to pause one year from competing. It was hardest part of my career, but I didn’t think for a second to give up.
“Of course, Olympic bronze has the special place in my heart”.
So many emotions are in it it’s hard to describe. Then, silver at WCH 2014. I had a breakdown on PET and it felt so good to overcome all the problems and perform well. And gold in air rifle WC Changwon. After years of struggle with air, it was so liberating to win it.
Growth graph from a national shooter to an International shooter from Croatia and to leading the world of Shooting.
I was average for a long time. For me, everything started to come together after Beijing Olympics. I guess I realize that if I can win Olympic medal, I can perform well on all others competitions…
Future aspirations and career key targets.
I never look too far ahead. This season’s goal is of course, the Games, but before them I have Europeans Championships and 4 World Cups, and I’m hoping to be ready for them.
You already have 50 m Rifle 3 Positions Women joint world record and a new final world record under your kitty. Your next target?
Stay at the top and try to win some more medals. The more you win, the more you want.
This is for information sharing to upcoming shooters: what are the differences in shooting 10M rifle & 50 M Rifle 3 positions which you have seen as a shooter?
Well, 10m is, let’s say, a little easier. Technically, I needed to mature to become this good at 50m.
Message you would like to share with youngsters with regards to shooting as a sport…
“There is no recipe or ‘how to’ you tube video”.
Barbara Engleder once said something that hit home with me: ‘After all this time I still don’t know why some days are better than others.’ And that is the biggest truth. You just have to work hard and then some.
(ISSF Shooter of the year award is an annual award which is given to Shooter selected by votes of the ISSF Coaches Advisory Committee and of the ISSF Athletes Committee members, and of a panel of international media representatives, who are invited by the International Shooting Sport Federation. Role models, who are successful through unique performances, behavior and character, Athletes who represent the special values of the shooting sport with commitment are voted for the prestigious award).