"I do not think I will be under more pressure than usual. I was afraid of it after the medal I won in London, but it didn’t happen then and it will not happen now."
It has been a year to remember for Italian archery after their superb achievements at the 2014 European Para-Archery Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland, between 26 July-3 August.
They topped the medals table, scooping three gold and two bronze medals in a successful nine days of competition - an achievment that has earned them a place in the IPC's Top 50 Moments of 2014.
The trio of Alberto Simonelli, Matteo Bonacina and Micro Falcier claimed the first gold in the men’s compound open team event, but it was Elisabetta Mijno who proved to be the most successful competitor.
Not only did she win the women’s compound open alongside Annalisa Rosada and Veronica Floreno, but also was the only Italian to claim an individual gold.
The 28-year-old’s success came in the women’s recurve bow open as she defeated Poland’s Milena Olszewska to cap a wonderful tournament for the Italians. The Paralympic silver medallist epitomised the Italian team’s success, but was keen to credit everybody involved.
“The whole team was very happy including the coaches, psychologists and the physiotherapists,” she said. “The team is not composed only of athletes, and each member gives their own contribution to the final result.”
Mijno came into the event unable to practice as much as she would have liked due to a medicine degree she was undertaking, but still felt confident she could improve on the silver medal she won at the previous European Championships.
Despite the Italian success, the team did not go into the event predicting or targeting a certain number of medals. Instead, they took it day-by-day in a mind-set that seemed to work well for them.
“It’s always very difficult to foresee the number of total medals, but after the first results we realised that we would be in a very good position in terms of the medals table,” stated Mijno.
With great success come great expectations, but the Italian is not fazed by being the one to beat going into future competitions.
“I do not think I will be under more pressure than usual. I was afraid of it after the medal I won in London, but it didn’t happen then and it will not happen now,” she said.
“Each competition ends with the last arrow and the results are the consequences of mental and physical work; medals you got in the previous matches don’t influence your arrows, they can just impress the competition a little.”
The chance to represent your country is an achievement few accomplish in their lifetime, and the members of the Italian archery team have certainly relished that opportunity over the past year.
Mijno explained: “I think that representing your country at an international event is the ambition of every sportsman and I am honoured to get that opportunity.”
Visit the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2014 campaign page for more information.