Finals Trap Women Junior

Iezzi: I'll keep shooting

ISSF World Championship Shotgun · Lonato, ITA

Italy's Alessia Iezzi, who won the women's junior trap in Lonato, wants to keep shooting.

Yesterday, on the first competition day at the World Championship in Lonato, Italy's Alessia Iezzi, 19, won the first gold of her career. It was her last time competing as a junior. From now on, she'll be an adult pursuing her dream - shooting.

Shooting has been a part of Iezzi's life since when she was born. Her parents own a shooting range near Pescara, where Iezzi lives (it's the capital city of Italy's Abruzzo region). Her father used to shoot. Her mother used to bring her to the range in a stroller.

Seeing her father shooting all the time, Iezzi always wanted to go with him. She had become "passionate" about the sport.

On the day of her eighth birthday, Iezzi received a pellet gun as a gift from her parents. That triggered her creativity. 8-year-old Iezzi started training in her backyard.

put a target on a plant," Iezzi says, "walk away, aim, and shoot at it."

Then Iezzi started shooting with her father's gun - and started winning, too: she came in second at a national tournament in Rome, the Criterium.

Before the CAS Italian Championship that year, Iezzi made a bet with her father. If she won the championship, he would buy her a gun of her own. She won, and her father bought her an old Beretta 682.

"Then I started," says Iezzi. In 2011, she came in fourth at the World Championship in Belgrade - her first international competition. Iezzi was only 11th the next year in Cyprus, at the 2012 European Championship. But in 2013 she won her first international medal - a junior bronze at the 2013 World Championship in Lima.

Iezzi, who was then 17, started thinking - she'd soon be a senior, but she still hadn't won a gold. Just two international competitions were left in her junior career. "I want to win one of those two," Iezzi recalls thinking. "This [Lonato] was the last one." And she won.

"I started working hard with my father [to win in Lonato]," says Iezzi. "I was done with school, so I had more time."

In fact, Iezzi had just graduated high school. This year, she'll start college in Teramo, a small city near Pescara. Her major is Animal Care and Well-Being - a branch of veterinary medicine.

But school is not something likely to keep Iezzi away from the shooting range.

"Shooting is my life. It's all that I've always wanted," Iezzi says. "I'll keep shooting."

Alessandro Ceschi