Spain’s premier marksman ready to take on Europe for gold

Spanish shooter Juan Saavedra is confident he can convert his London 2012 silver-medal performance into gold at the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships in Alicante, Spain, starting 20 October. 10 Oct 2013
A picture of a man posing during the shooting competition

Saavedra Reinaldo poses during his R4 competition at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

ⒸSpanish paralympic committee
By Jake Wright | For the IPC

Right now, if I made a bet, I will bet for R6, I’d put money on myself, but maybe I’ll lose my money.

Saavedra narrowly missed out on the top spot in the R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1) at the Paralympics last year, but is willing to gamble on gold in just over one weeks’ time.

“In the final anything could happen, I will go to shoot the final and focus on winning the medal. Right now, if I made a bet, I will bet for R6, I’d put money on myself, but maybe I’ll lose my money.”

I’m shooting really, really well. I have achieved a very high level for R6, much higher than one year ago [at London 2012] when I won the [silver] medal, but I don’t really know how the other shooters are doing,” he said.

The three-time Paralympian has been revelling in the thought of a competition on home soil and the chance to once again take on close rival and R6 bronze medal winner from London 2012, Brit Matt Skelhon, as well as veteran 17-time Paralympic shooting champion Swede Jonas Jacobsson.

“It’s a proud feeling and a little bit of responsibility when shooting in Spain,” said Saavedra.

“All eyes are on you, the world and everything is watching and they hope you go to the final and win the medal.”

The 40-year old Galician goes into the championships off the back of a dogged performance at the IPC Shooting World Cup held at Stoke Mandeville stadium, Great Britain, where he made the R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1) final.

Speaking of his chances in Alicante across three events – R3, R6 and R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2), Saavedra is confident of collecting at least two European medals including the coveted R6 title.

“I have a good possibility in two events maybe more,” he said

With 18 other medallists from London 2012 aiming for European glory in Alicante from 20-25 October, competition will be fierce. No less than 25 confirmed world records have been set already this season in World Cup events in Turkey, Poland and Great Britain, as shooters build on their London performances and look towards the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany, which take place from 19-26 July 2014.

The 2013 IPC European Shooting Championships will run from 20-25 October and will feature more than 170 athletes from over 30 countries - more competitors than London 2012.

More information can be found at the events homepage.