Ukraine’s Oleksii Denysiuk had come to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with high hopes. Ending the year in 2015 among the world’s top three shooters in P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1), P3 (mixed 25m pistol SH1), and (mixed 50m pistol SH1), his Paralympic medal haul of only one bronze was not what he had dreamt of, he admitted.
Particularly the devastating 22nd place in the P1 qualification round hurt Denysiuk’s confidence. After all, the 27-year-old is the current P1 finals world record holder.
“In hindsight, I do think that I underestimated the seriousness of the events and the pressure that comes with competing at the Paralympic Games for the first time,” the Ukrainian acknowledged, indicating that his relative inexperience might have been a factor.
However, his bronze in P4, his last event in Rio, attested to Denysiuk’s fighting spirit and considerably brightened things up for him.
Thus, despite Denysiuk’s overall mixed feelings about his first stint at the Paralympics, it does come as a surprise that he does not list his P4 bronze win among his top three memories of Rio 2016.
The Opening Ceremony
One of my absolute favorite moments happened during the opening ceremony. When you walk into a stadium the size of the Maracana stadium, filled with so many spectators, you feel a very strong emotional outburst, a feeling of absolute euphoria. In that moment, I realized for what purpose I had made all those efforts and sacrifices during the last year.
The reaction of my coaches
After the P1 event, in which I performed so poorly, I expected a barrage of criticism from my coaches. But instead they offered strong moral support and worked to motivate me for my next events. Looking back, I definitely think that their reaction helped me a great deal before and during my next competitions.
My visit to Corcovado Mountain
I will never forget walking up Corcovado Mountain with the Christ the Redeemer statue at the top. Before I went, I had seen a piece about the Corcovado on TV and was very excited to go and see it by myself. So when I finally got there, I was very happy to be able to see it all with my own eyes.
The 2017 World Shooting Para Sport season gets underway in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, with a World Cup on 19 February.