Nina Christen made it. The 25-year old Swiss shooter claimed her first ISSF medal, today, at the 2019 ISSF World Cup in New Delhi.
And she made it in style, clinching gold after a thrilling 50m Rifle 3 Positions final, where she had to fight neck and neck against some of the strongest athletes in the world.
Nina had already experienced the pressure of a final, before. Several times. She had actually competed in top-level matches, such as the Rio 2016 Olympic final, and the 2018 World Championship final, walking out with a sixth and fifth place, respectively. Great results, but an ISSF trophy was missing from her medal showcase.
Today, she hold on there, atop of the table, shot after shot, with a few tenths of advantage on her followers. Right to the last shot, when she emerged as the gold medal winner, with 457.1 points.
“I finally made it,” she said after the final. In front of her, the scoreboard shows Shi Mengyao of the People’s Republic of China in second place, and Yelizaveta Korol of Kazakhstan in third, just a few tenths behind.
“I started shooting because of my family,” Nina continued, telling about her passion for the sport.
“This sport is a family issue. My grandfather was a shooter. My father is a shooter. My all family is in the sport. That’s how I started.”
“I understood this discipline was becoming something serious in my life when I became one of Switzerland’s best rifle shooters aged 14. And I kept going.”
Nowadays, Christen is a professional athlete, in force to the Swiss army. Next year, 2020, will be a challenging one, as she will start studying, and at the same time will have to do her best to fulfill her Olympic dream.
She won a quota for the Games, today. But that’s not enough. The quota is awarded to the country, and not to the athletes.
“Winning a Tokyo 2020 quota places is really great. I can now focus on the preparation for the Games, which is extremely important. I will have to go through an internal selection process to make it in the Swiss Olympic team. That’s next year, and it’s thrilling me.”
But stress is not an issue for her, apparently.
“What keeps me motivated? Fun, to be honest. I am having fun. Shooting is really a great sport.”