Target shooter champion Eleanor Bezzina aims high for Tokyo 2020 games

‘Being honoured with the Sports Woman of the Year Award has given target shooting better exposure than ever’, says Malta champion Eleanor Bezzina 

Eleanor Bezzina
Eleanor Bezzina

Target shooter Eleanor Bezzina, who recently won the Sports Woman of the Year award, says she considers two competitions in which she participated as her major achievements. 

The first was the 2013 Small Nations Games in Luxembourg, in which she won the gold medal and became the first target shooter to win a gold medal in these games. 

The other competition which will surely remain in Bezzina’s memory is the 2016 Olympics  in Rio De Janiero. Bezzina had started practicing pistol shooting in 2009, so making it to the Olympics in just seven years was a huge achievement. “The Olympics are every athlete’s dream and it was a great experience to compete such games,” she said, now saying she will do her utmost to compete once more during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

Born on 25 March 1977, the 42-year-old highly talented athlete from Tarxien began shooting only at the age of 32. She made Malta proud by winning the first Maltese female gold medal in air-pistol shooting in the 2013 Games of the Small States of Europe held in Luxembourg. She has also many other brilliant results in international competitions: 3 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze at the Welsh Airgun Championships, and winner of the Scottish Ladies Air-Pistol Championships in 2013.

As in any other disciplines, there are obstacles athletes must overcome. One of those is the balance between work and practice, as well as mental preparation. “I cannot consider myself a professional athlete since I work full-time at University, but I give great importance to sport I try to time-manage my working commitments with target shooting commitments.  I believe that in life one has to set priorities and do sacrifices to achieve one’s goals. 

“Target shooting, being a sport of precision and high accuracy, needs a lot of concentration. The mental preparation for this sport is fundamental and requires a good effort since I tis not every day that I would be in the same state of mind, such as after a challenging day at work, or because of personal issues.” 

Bezzina says target shooting today is more appreciated as a sport in Malta. 

“Gradually, target shooting has started being given importance. One can see the difference throughout the years. Before few knew about this sport. I have to admit that I wasn’t aware myself of this discipline before 2009; but now people ask what this sport entails and get interested in trying pistol shooting. In fact, a very positive result of being honoured with the title of Sports Woman of the Year 2018 is that it gave the sport even more exposure.” 

Bezzina said she wants to see more young girls getting nterested in target shooting: “I encourage all young girls to venture in a sport. Sport is good for your health and wellbeing.  Make sports part of your life. Target shooting is an interesting sport which involves high precision and concentration. Pistol shooting is open to all and I encourage everyone to try this sport; it is safe and very challenging. One can contact the Malta Air Rifle and Pistol Club which has its range in Bidnija to book a trial session. 

“When practising a sport one has to train with passion and enjoy what they do. In sports, like in any other aspect of life, there are ups and downs but it is important to keep challenging yourself and never give up.  Results are achieved with the 3Ds: drive, dedication and determination.” 

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