"Thanks to Italian Navy for believing in me" says Italian shooter Antonino Barillà
Antonino Barillà is a 30 year old Italian shooter who participates in the Double Trap events. He is a two-time world champion. He also finished at the 16th position in the Rio Olympic Games.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Antonino talks about his entire shooting career.
How would you like to describe the moment when you won the Gold Medal in the 2015 ISSF World Cup in the double trap event?
Antonino: It was liberation when I shot the last plate of the event. I came from a very difficult period in my career for various problems. I dominated the event from the start and it was a wonderful moment when I won the Gold Medal. It was an outburst against everything that had happened in my life. One can even see my gestures in the video of the final. Thus, it was a very cherishing moment.
What inspired you to choose shooting as your career?
Antonino: I chose the sport because shooting has been a passion which has been practised by my family for a long time. My grandfather had built a shooting range over 40 years ago. So, I spent my childhood in hearing the sound of firing of guns and seeing these targets being hit. I started shooting at the age of 13 and moved on to specialize in the Double Trap discipline. I would also like to thank the Italian Navy for believing in me and help making me a professional athlete. Through the platform which was provided by the navy, I grew a lot and performed well in few important competitions.
You finished at the 16th position in the 2016 Rio Olympics. How would you like to rate this performance of yours?
Antonino: The Olympic Games is the biggest sporting event in the world. Every professional athlete aspires to participate and win a medal in the Games. Though I managed to participate in the Games, I couldn’t win a medal for my country. Certainly, my emotions took over me at such a big platform. Furthermore, my luck also didn’t favour me on such a big event. I think I was not very cold and lucky. However, it remains a magnificent experience and I am proud to have represented my country in such an important competition
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?
Antonino: Surely some sports such as football and tennis are more publicized and transmitted by the media. Thus, these are more practised all over the world. I think that many people aren’t aware of our sport because it is not very publicized. In my opinion, people do not encourage youngsters to opt shooting because they think it is an aggressive game. However, it's actually only our firearm which is our sporting tool. Furthermore, shooters are very disciplined and respectful about their sport.
You won the Gold Medal in the 2014 World Championship in the Men Double Trap team along with Daniele Di Spigno and Davide Gasparini. What does this achievement mean to you?
Antonino: Winning a gold medal at a world championship is one of the best satisfaction for an athlete's career. An athlete always wishes to stand on top of the podium, watch his flag waving. Moreover, when I was listening to the national anthem of my country, a shiver went through my back. I was proud of myself and my companions with whom I conquered this title. My thoughts went to my family. Furthermore, it was a great sight to see my countrymen being proud of my accomplishment.
ISSF has removed the Double Trap discipline from the Olympic Games. What all would you like to say about this decision?
Antonino: Unfortunately International Sport Shooting Federation has made the decision of removing 3 disciplines from the Olympic program for the Tokyo 2020 games which includes Double Trap discipline. It was disheartening to see the discipline that I have always practised is no more a part of Olympic Games. So my participation in the next games has been compromised. I am currently preparing for other competitions such as World and European Championships which will be held this year. I hope the mindset of ISSF changes at the end of this year. Elections for the new president will be held at the end of this year and I hope we get a president who could bring back all the 3 disciplines for the 2024 Olympic Games which will be held in Paris.
What message would like to give to the youngsters who aspire to be a shooter?
Antonino: It’s great to see youngsters who are approaching this wonderful sport. I would say that every shooter goes through various difficulties. However, if you are determined towards the sport and working hard, then you’ll definitely get results. One should be mentally strong during the tough times and most importantly, one should never give up.