Gorgs flies the Devon Flag in Europe!
Well the trip started on a high, when in Terminal 1 Heathrow, delaying tactics Hannah, Zoe and I spy a famous face also in the queue for a coffee. Knowing our mothers would be very jealous; we gathered the courage to change our stalking glances into a photo opportunity with Anton Du Bec!
Zoe, Anton, Hannah, Me
But our excitement was later clouded by the French Team in Zagreb Airport! We landed and gathered our luggage (apart from poor Zoe, who bag was most likely still sitting in a ‘safe place’ at Heathrow airport!) at 7:30pm and looked forward to our 3hour bus trip to Osijek……..but we waited and waited a little more. There were luggage problems and (lack of) passports from the frogs, who were also on the bus. I felt for them…….but at the same time was glad I could sleep anywhere, as we eventually walked into our hotel at 4am! ……….the glamour of International travels!
The Three Musketeers amuse themselves at midnight in Zagreb Airport!
Having settled into the local area……….
……..and met the locals…
…….Zoe and Hannah set the trail of the British Pistol Team with their Junior Sport Pistol competition on the Saturday morning. Hannah was disappointed with her 13th place, but still was a brilliant improvement from her 19th place at the Junior Europeans last year. Zoe came 27th which was excellent considering all the challenges that this trip had imposed on her!
The afternoon then saw the experienced shooters step into the lime light in the Free Pistol event, where Mick Gault and Iqbal Ubhi flew the flag. They both shot extremely well in the sweltering conditions, particularly Mick who left us on the edge of our seats, as by just one point he missed out on a shoot-off for the eighth place in the final. But in the end he came 11th and Iqbal a solid 46th.
GBR European Pistol Team
With the rest of the British Pistol team having completed their European Championship experience for 2009, it left me to bring up the rear on Sunday. My pre event training had gone very well the night before, so Peter and I felt as ready as we could be for the luxury 10:20am precision stage start.
Trying to keep a level head, the precision went awesomely well shooting a 292/300. Usually this would be the end of the day’s activities, with the rapid stage to follow the next day, but these Championships condensed it to a one day competition, so it was a 1pm re-start.
Thankfully not having too long to ponder over what I’d just achieved, (later to discover I was lying in 4th position in my first Sport Pistol Europeans, just one point from the top!) I prepared myself as usual for the rapid stage. Not having such a robust technique yet, I held it together just for the full 30 shots and gave my fan club, who came for the ’fun’ rapid stage, something to cheer about half way through with a 50! Unsurprisingly my firing point was selected for a ‘random’ trigger weight test, which my Pardini easily passed, sealing a 290/300 rapid score and therefore 582/600 total and 6th position entering the final.
The Cheerleaders who very kindly came to watch.
As Peter and I sat out in the sun relaxing for 45 minutes, I was so chuffed when a number of people came and congratulated me on my qualification performance. It really meant something to me being recognised by my fellow competitors and alike, as I’m not there to make up the numbers, I want to win!
European Sport Pistol Final 2009 Line-Up
Reporting time came for the final, where another trigger weight test was done, other formalities took place and Gorgs began to get a little nervous!
The nervous look!
We were all introduced onto the firing point and onto another competition level I stepped, with cameras rolling, a crowd watching, but at the same time very familiar circumstances as I walked on giggling due to the announcer stumbling over my surname, even though Peter had told him! Preparation time began and the announcer introduced the competitors once again and their form. I just remember smiling to myself as the lady in 1st had won Olympic, World Cup etc. etc. medals even before I was born, along with the ladies in all the other positions, apart from Georgina Geikie who had come 17th at the Munich World Cup in 2009………….silence!
As the final got underway I felt quite calm (especially in comparison to the final series of the qualification stage) and I was glad of my finals experience with the Air Pistol. At the end of the day I had nothing to loose and everything to gain! My technique showed there is room for improvement, but with 20 scoring European Championship Final shots, I had achieved my seasons goal. As the announcer read out the final positioning I had dropped down to finish 7th, but very heartening……just a single point from 4th!
What a high to end the season on. I’m still smiling and walking on cloud 9.5 three days later! Some fantastic statistics have come to light as well. Not only did I break my own British Record again but I have become the 5th British Pistol shooter to get into a Major Match final (World Cup, World / European Championships or Olympics), in history and only the 2nd lady! Additionally I can’t train with my gun in my home country!
So as this season comes to an end, I just wanted to thank all those who have helped me back home in Devon and elsewhere. Without your support my quest for the top would be SO much harder!