"As long as I know that I am good and I can win in competitions, that gives me motivation to do more and more work"
For a decade, Filip Rodzik has competed in shooting Para sport on various levels, reaching the finals but never quite getting over the hump to a major medal. But the Polish athlete is not giving up, as he looks forward to kicking off his medal quest at next week’s Osijek World Cup in Croatia.
MQS (minimum qualification scores) spots are up for grabs, making the World Cup an important pathway toward October’s World Championships in Sydney, Australia.
Osijek would be a fresh start for the pistol specialist.
He began shooting Para sport in 2009. But as long as he still has that competitive fire in him, he will keep fighting.
“I know that I am still good,” the 38-year-old said. “As long as I know that I am good and I can win in competitions, that gives me motivation to do more and more work.
“I think most athletes have the same problem that they have to control their emotions, and in shooting it’s very important that you control your emotions and stay focused to shoot well. It’s hard work with yourself, and I like that challenge as a shooter and I want to keep getting better.”
Rodzik was a shooting athlete before a swimming accident in 1999 when he broke his neck.
It was not until 2005 when he returned to the sport, but this time as a spectator at the ISSF European Championships. He saw shooting Para sport for the first time and then ask the national team coach of Poland if he can try it. The following year he attended a Para sport competition in his home country, where he discovered his talent.
He has competed at World Championships in 2010, 2014 and 2018; European Championships in 2013 and 2018; and Paralympic Games in 2008 and 2016.
His last competition was the 2018 Europeans in Belgrade, Serbia, where he finished fifth in the P5 (mixed 10m air pistol SH1) and took team bronze in the P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1).
“The European Championships was good, I didn’t have so many muscle spasms but I have a dream of shooting better in P1,” he said. “I thought that I could shoot well, but I shot worse than I thought. So it was not my best. But I shot better a couple of months before, and I know I can still do better.”
Rodzik would like an individual medal, and will size up his competition in Osijek, which will see a competitive line-up.
Ukraine’s P1 European champion Oleksii Denysiuk and Czech Republic’s European silver medallist Tomas Pesek are coming off strong 2018 seasons.
“I must check how I shoot now and also see how other people shoot,” Rodzik said. “So this World Cup is a training for Sydney. But I know I need to train more because I have not been shooting as well as I used to. I have a plan to train more in the next couple of months ahead of Sydney.”
The Osijek World Cup runs from 25-20 July.