"As long as my health permits, I will fight for a shot at a Paralympic medal in 2020"
Frustration. Anger even. Both emotions visited Poland’s medal hopeful Filip Rodzik in the months following the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Going into the Games “feeling 100 per cent ready,” spasms, general fatigue, and problems with his spine resulted in devastating performances for the 36-year-old on the Paralympic shooting range. He missed the final in all three disciplines he competed in and finished last in the P4 qualification round.
“I don’t really know where those spasms came from, probably the climate,” Rodzik remembered. “All I know is that I suffered from them from the time of the very first Rio training until the end of the competition. It’s particularly tragic for me since in practically every event leading up to the Games, I had shot results that would have secured me a spot in each of those finals.”
However, Rodzik did not want to dwell on the past.
“I am just as motivated as I was before Rio. As long as my health permits, I will fight for a shot at a Paralympic medal in 2020.”
At the end of April, Rodzik took a first step on the long, uphill road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
At his home World Shooting Para Sport Grand Prix in Szczecin, Poland, he reached the finals in the P1 and P4 and finished in seventh and fifth place, respectively.
“After the P1 qualification round, which I finished in third place, I got a little unlucky in the final. The fifth place in the P4 was alright though and overall, particularly bearing in mind where I am coming from, I considered my performances in Szczecin a good start to the season.”
His next highlights are the currently underway International Shooting Competition of Hannover as well as the Polish National Championships in June.
“With my fellow countrymen Szymon Sowinski [fourth place in P1 and ninth place in P4 in Rio] and Slawomir Okoniewski [European silver medallist in P1 and P4], I have two very strong contenders at my doorstep so to speak. Which is great because even if we ‘only’ compete together in Poland, it still feels like a high-caliber international competition, because they are such great shooters.”
In order to avoid experiencing physical problems similar to the ones he suffered from in Rio, Rodzik has also changed his training routine.
“I have increased the amount of time I spend on my overall health. I have incorporated more workouts that strengthen my whole body, all the muscles and the spine. While I try to spend a daily two to three hours on the shooting range, the more general training, such as swimming, full body exercises, rehabilitation, etc., now comprises one to three hours a day.”
Rodzik said he hoped these changes will enable him to achieve his mid-term goal: to compete for top three results in as many finals as he can this year, as well as on the road to Tokyo 2020.