Finals Skeet Men

Spotlight on Youth - Tom Jensen: living the year of change

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol / Shotgun · Granada, ESP

Norway's Tom Jensen has slightly missed the Skeet Men gold in Granada. But 2013 has been gentle with him so far and is not over yet.

Leader of the qualifications (124 hits, Equalled World Record), king of the semifinal (15/16) and conductor of the gold medal match (14/15). Not enough for Tom Beier Jensen: Norway's Beier was incredibly close to his first ever World Cup gold (at Granada's Skeet Men event) but finally failed, at just 3-shot away from the win.

The other finalist - Jan Sychra of Czech Republic - didn't miss the chance to reach Beier in 1st position right before the last double of the match, when his Norwegian opponent had had his second - fatal - miss of the game. The tie remained till the end of the contest, making a shoot-off necessary to decide the first two positions of the podium.

Sychra pulled it off successfully, overcoming Beier and securing his own second World Cup gold (the first one at Concepcion 2011), after a dramatic shoot-off (4-3). Beier - tricked by the new finals format (he would have won by a 1-target lead over Sychra, counting the qualification score) - is smiling anyway: "I'm happy, - he says - starting from zero in the final is strange, but I still think that the best will win."

Fair enough: getting angry about the new rules would have been be the most likely response to such a last-minute defeat as the one he had just suffered. Beier would have maybe done that a few years ago, but not now; Tom is different: "In 2013 I've changed my attitude. I'm more focused and rational, I use my brain and don't get nervous all the time." And that works: so far this year, the 23-year-old Beier has won the two first World Cup medals of his career (both silver: Granada and Al Ain). How did he make it? "That's a secret, and we keep it four ourselves!" jokes Harald Jensen - Tom's trainer and uncle.

Then, Coach Harald explains: "It's just hard work. He learnt to do the right things and be hard with himself. That's the key." And the pupil Beier confirms: "I'm starting to get the right experience, so I can keep focused and avoid to be nervous. During today's final, I was really relaxed."

In the end, Tom tells the very truth: "I'm still thinking of the gold," he says with (understandable) regret.

But now, it's time to turn over a new leaf and recharge the batteries, in view of the next competion: "I'll go back to Norway and get some rest; - continues Tom - then it will be the time of the European Championship in Suhl."

Tom's hope is clear: a gold medal there would be a compensation to today's final. The year of change cannnot end with a silver: Coach Harald didn't say that, but that's not a secret.

Alessandro Ceschi


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