“There’s a lot of good shooters and in the air rifle there’s plenty."
A lot is said about Swedish icon Jonas Jacobsson and his legendary nine appearances at Paralympic Games spanning an incredible four decades.
He made his international debut at the tender age of 14, entering his first Paralympic Games in Arnhem in 1980 at just 15, picking up a silver and bronze medal.
But the 48 year-old is characteristically modest about his record-breaking achievements and 17 Paralympic, 17 world and 22 European titles:
“I started young and have had a lot of training over the years – I’ve got a lot of experience I guess”, he told Paralympic.org.
In an interview during free training ahead of Alicante 2013, the veteran seems looked towards life after competitive shooting and to leading the next generation of Swedish shooters to achieve the same greatness.
“We have quite a few good shooters back in Sweden who are coming up as well, which is good”, Jacobsson said when asked about the future of the sport in his country.
But the competitive spirit still lives on strongly for Jacobsson, and he admits to being disappointed with his preparation for London 2012.
“Leading up to the Games my training was not as stable as I wanted it to be so I knew going into London that it would be tough.”
He also still feels the weight of his nations’ expectations firmly on his shoulders, but, in a glorious triumph, Jacobsson snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the R7 (men’s 50m rifle three positions SH1) at the Royal Artillery Barracks:
“It was good, it was really good. It was close that I would go home without a gold so I was happy to get it.
“I started with a silver medal and ended up with a lot of pressure to get the gold.
“The way it happened – I turned the match around with just a couple of shots so it was pretty special for me in that way and it was my ninth Paralympics in a row which no one else has so that was pretty special.”
Of his competition at the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships, Jacobsson speaks highly of the man he nearly lost gold to at London 2012:
“There’s a lot of good shooters and in the air rifle there’s plenty. In the rifle three positions [R7] there’s a couple of us, Doron Shaziri from Israel in particular.”
Jacobsson already picked up bronze in R1 (men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) on Monday, the event he won silver in at London, but did not make it through to the finals in R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1) on the second day of competition (Tuesday).
He will be competing in R7 today (Wednesday) at the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships.
At Alicante 2013, the legend is looking to live on.