Slovakian world champion Veronika Vadovicova is enjoying the form of her life, as she heads to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in pole position to return to the top step of the podium.
Having missed out on gold at London 2012, where she hoped to repeat her success from Beijing 2008, Vadovicova has produced spectacular results in the intervening years.
After winning European gold in 2013 and topping the podium at the 2014 World Championships, the Slovakian won seven World Cup golds in 2015.
In 2016 she set a new R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1) qualification world record at the IPC Shooting World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, in March. Vadovicova fired 639.7 to smash the previous world record (637.2) set in the same city, three years’ prior by South Korea’s Sim Jae Yong.
All of this has led to a perfectly timed peak: “I felt satisfaction because I was finally able to shoot these scores at competition level as it’s what I’ve been achieving during training” Vadovicova said.
Currently ranked world No. 1 for R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1), R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1), R8 (women’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1) and second for R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1), Vadovicova has to carefully juggle her commitments. With a jam-packed, but promising programme for Rio, Vadovicova is modest about her prospects.
“I have no expectations for the Paralympic Games, but as every shooter in the world, which practices every day I would like to be successful in at least in one event,” she said.
“I do not have a favourite discipline. I share my efforts equally across all disciplines because I enjoy the sport as a whole and each discipline has its own charm.”
Preparing for what will be her fourth consecutive Paralympic Games, Vadovicova will continue with her well executed plan. Her husband also plays the role of coach, which some may say could be a tricky combination, but given her ongoing success, Vadovicova has proven that it is quite the opposite.
“Shooting is our common lifestyle so I do not see any problem,” she said. “For me it's an advantage because he knows me perfectly and in addition to the coaching he brings me psychological support. It works perfectly as reflected in the results.
“We will follow our plan from last year because it has proven to be very well adjusted. I receive very good assistance from the Police Sports Centre, which falls under the Ministry of Interior and also the Slovak Paralympic Committee who give me great support and help me in all aspects of training and competition” said Vadovicova.
The Paralympic Games provides a unique opportunity, but with lots of experience behind her Vadovicova knows exactly what to expect and how to handle the pressure.
“My main target is to think positively so I try not worry. Nervousness is a natural phenomenon that comes to every athlete who takes sport seriously. Therefore, I take the anxiety, pressure and excitement as completely normal which there is no need to fight” she said.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.