“I think I have improved my skills, I practice regularly and I hope that my performance will be appreciated at the World Championships, but I expect exactly the same thing from my competitors.”
Double European champion Veronika Vadovicova will line-up as one of the favourites to win a series of gold medals at the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany (18-26 July), despite a knee problem that could prevent her from continuing her exceptional form.
Vadovicova was injured before the 2010 World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, and even discharged herself from hospital in order to compete. On that occasion she managed a silver medal in R8 (women’s 50m rifle three positions).
This time around and despite suffering from another injury, the 32-year-old is more confident than ever of performing well. “I think I have improved my skills, I practice regularly and I hope that my performance will be appreciated at the World Championships, but I expect exactly the same thing from my competitors.”
Those rivals include China’s Paralympic champion Cuiping Zhang and the host nation’s European champion Natascha Hiltrop who will all compete at the Schießsportzentrum Suhl (SSZ).
In recent years Vadovicova has emerged as the shooter to beat on the international circuit after winning her first Paralympic title in Beijing in 2008. At London 2012 however, Vadovicova was beaten into third by eventual gold medallist Zhang in R8.
A year later at the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships in Alicante, Spain, Vadovicova won titles in R8 and R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) after making some changes to her coaching and support staff. “It [training] is more regular and more elaborate,” she said. “I changed my assistant who is my boyfriend at the same time. He helps me with each training and competition. Thanks to him I enjoy training more and constantly I am trying to find some mistakes and prevent them. We create the possibility to improve my technique all the time.”
In 2014, Vadovicova has secured six first place finishes in IPC Shooting World Cups around the world and set a new R2 finals world record in June to top off a great start to the season ahead of the Worlds.
With Rio 2016 fast approaching and Suhl 2014 being the first opportunity for athletes to qualify, Vadovicova’s mind has begun to turn to “completing the medal series”. She said “Of course, Rio is great aim. I will try hard to succeed there. I mean to gain the missing silver medal from Paralympic Games. The aim is to gain at least one medal.”
From 18-26 July, 265 athletes from 53 countries will compete at the biggest ever IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany.
Follow Vadovicova in R2 on Saturday (19 July) on the Suhl 2014 event website, or on IPC Shooting's Facebook and Twitter.
High quality pictures will be available to download from each day at the IPC's Flickr page.