10m Air Rifle Men Relay 2

There's future in Istvan

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol · Munich, GER

Istvan Peni's parents, two shooters, didn't want him to shoot because they saw "no future" in his passion. Now they do.

Istvan Peni isn't happy about his 18th place at the men's 10m air rifle today. Still, the 18-year-old of Hungary finds hope in where his career is going--which is not where his parents had originally prefigured.

Earlier this season, Peni had come in 18th in Fort Benning and 9th in Changwon. Peni, despite not making any final, shows signs of hopes--he says it's  "always small parts of the competition" that ruin his game and keep him away from better results.

Peni, a bronze medalist at last year's Youth Olympics in Nanjing, had faced his parents's opposition when he first wanted to shoot.

Both of Peni's parents were shooters.

"They didn't want me to shoot at a high level and to be a shooter," Peni says. "They didn't see the future in it."

Peni's father, who is also called Istvan, would allow his son to shoot just occasionally at the end of his trainings--which the young Istvan would loyally attend.

Soccer was Peni's sport for a while, but a knee injury then stopped him.

"I couldn't train for half a year," Peni says. "Then, my father let me shoot."

Peni's parents now support him "maximally," a feeling they've held on to ever since they saw Istvan "was improving [his] scores really fast."

Since the days of talking his parents into letting him shoot, Peni has come a long way--Nanjing's podium marked his first international success. He followed up on that the next year, as he won a junior silver medal at the European Championship in Arnhem last March.

"Nanjing helped me a lot," Peni says, calling it "a big experience that I can use in the future."

Incidentally, the bronze in Nanjing earned Peni some benefits back home--he found that "teachers help [him] more and [that] the National Olympic Committee gives [him] more [money]."

In Nanjing, Peni found the right formula--to have both his physical and his shooting coaches on the range with him.

"I tried to continue like that," Peni says, "to be prepared both in my physical condition and in my shooting."

At the European Games--next month in Baku, Azerbaigian--both of Peni's coaches will be there with him.

"Before Baku I will put much more 10m training in," Peni says, mentioning that in the discipline he has "much bigger chances to get a [Rio 2016] quota" compared to the prone and the three positions events.

Were Peni to make the Olympic Games, that would be the definitive message to his parents after the Youth Olympics--they were wrong when they didn't want their son to shoot.

Luckily, his parents changed their minds. As Peni puts it, "they saw that there was future in it."

Alessandro Ceschi


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