Date of Birth: 25th March, 1977
Location: Ħal Tarxien
Star Sign: Aries
Sport: Target Shooting (10m air pistol and 25m sport pistol)
After commencing her training in October 2009, Eleanor Bezzina started competing on foreign soil in June 2010, and won the Campionato Regionale Federale di Sicilia. Throughout the past three years, she’s competed in European Championships, Mediterranean Games, World Cups, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
She came second in the Welsh Air Gun Open Championships in October 2010, and qualified for the final of the Intershoot held in the Netherlands.
In May 2013, she won gold in the Games for the Small States of Europe in Luxembourg, and was placed third in the Grand Prix of Luxembourg in December 2014. Two months later, she qualified for the final and was placed fourth in the Grand Prix of France.
In February 2016, during the European Championships, she was two points short of obtaining a quota place for Rio 2016, but a few months later, Eleanor was competing in the Olympics 2016.
Image: Eleanor Bezzina – Rio2016
What sacrifices must to make to become a successful pistol shooter?
It’s about giving priority and importance to the things you like. Sport is very important in my life and I allocate a lot of time for training. I have to spare a good number of hours after work and at weekends to practice shooting. Results do not come without sacrifice and determination.
You’ve just competed in the Women’s 10m air pistol and 25m sport pistol events at the 2016 Summer Olympics. What can you tell us from your experience?
In almost seven years, I’ve managed to start from nothing to ending up at the Olympics in target shooting; the most prestigious competition an athlete can dream of. It was a great satisfaction to be part of Rio 2016.
As for my performance, the air pistol result was quite satisfactory, but one always hopes for a better result and classification. I kept my scores of the four sets consistent with 95,94,95,95, with a total of 379 from 400 points. As for sport pistol, I was quite disappointed as I had started well, but didn’t keep the momentum throughout the whole competition. The scores were 96,94,93,96,91,92 – a total of 562 from 600 points.
Should more boys and girls be encouraged to take up this sport?
The Olympic disciplines in target shooting are not commonly practised in Malta. I must admit that I wasn’t aware myself of this discipline before 2009. Target shooting is not a common sport, so it’s never received the necessary media coverage, though in the past few years, more importance has been given. The need to obtain a shooting licence and having a guardian present for youngsters under the age of 18 makes it more difficult to encourage kids to practice, although during the last few years more youngsters have taken up some form of air rifle discipline. I always encourage people of all ages to try target shooting, as it’s safe and very challenging.
Image: Eleanor Bezzina shooting
What makes you feel alive?
I like being surrounded by positive people who enjoy life and who are keen to venture into new things. Setting new targets and being motivated to reach my goals gives me energy. I like challenging myself and never giving up.
What area do you feel requires the most discipline in this sport?
As a sport of precision and high accuracy, target shooting needs a lot of concentration. One has to be focused on the present action and cannot think about the previous shot, or future scores, or any other distraction. The mental preparation for this sport is fundamental and requires a huge effort, as it’s not an everyday state of mind.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully still in the sporting environment! Shooting has the benefit that age doesn’t hinder you from practicing, but who knows? Maybe I’ll stop being an athlete and help others achieve their goals in this sport.