Istvan Peni is a Hungarian shooter, who is currently ranked No.1 in the 10m Air Rifle as well as the 50m rifle 3 positions. He won the gold medal in the World Cup Finals 2017 held in New Delhi. He has also bagged 2 Gold Medals in World Cups held in 2018.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Peni talks about his successful season and his plans for the future.
Here are the excerpts:
Q: What prompted you to choose shooting as your career?
A: I remember, I always loved to shoot and wished that one day I can become a professional sport shooter as well. My parents were also professional shooters before and both of them were nationally and internationally successful. When I was young, I loved to go with my father tn his training sessions because he always let me shoot with his rifle when he finished.
Q: You've bagged a couple of gold medals in the ISSF World Cup this year. Would you like to call it as the best time of your life?
A: Of course, this was my most successful year so far. I couldn’t even dream for anything better than to be on the 1st place in the world rankings in two of our Olympic events in my first senior year.
I am more than satisfied and I hope many similar years will follow this in the future.
Q: You won the gold medal in the 2014 Youth Olympics. What was the feeling when you went on top of the podium?
A: I think it’s almost impossible to describe the feeling when you stand on the top of the podium at such an important competition like the Youth Olympics. It was really all I wished for.
Besides that, the gold medal remains as a lifetime memory for me. The Youth Olympic Games gave me countless new friends and connections and also opened me new opportunities in Hungary to improve my career.
Q: You're currently the World No. 1 in the 10m Air Rifle event as well as the 50m rifle 3 positions event. How do you carry such a notable position?
A: This current title gives me huge motivation to work even harder. I am a very maximal person and I am always looking for new improvements in my shooting. I believe that this position is also a huge responsibility and I try to show a good example to the shooters of the next generation.
Q: We're half way through this year. What are your plans for the remaining year?
A: The most important competition of this year is definitely the World Championships in September. During the summer we have put in a huge effort in my preparations.
The World Championship is also important because this is going to be the first qualification competition for the 2020 Olympic games. After the world Championship, I will also take part at the Youth Olympic games in Buenos Aires, but this time not as a competitor. I will help my National Olympic committee with mentoring our young athletes during the Games.
Q: In the current scenario, people from all around the world prefer watching sports like soccer and tennis. How can shooting be popularized in the whole world?
A: I could mention many things in context to this. I think that shooting sport isn’t enough professional at the moment and we would need reformations on more levels. One of my biggest goals for the future is that after my career, I will try to focus on improving our sport.
Q: Do you see yourself as the No. 1 contender for the gold medal in the 10m Air rifle event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
A: Of course, my goal is to compete for the medal places in Tokyo. I wouldn’t put a priority on the air rifle event because I feel myself even more a probable medal winner in the 50m 3 position event.
In my opinion the preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics started on the day of the closing ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympics and I live every day like that. I feel that I have improved a lot since then and that I’m on the right way in my career.
Q: There are various young kids who have started developing interest in shooting. What message would you like to give to them?
A: I would recommend them to set clear goals and after it, to plan the way for reaching it. The right planning is one of the keys for success.