50m Rifle Prone Men

Spotlights on Youth: from Germany to Kentucky, on the way to Rio, running on mind power.

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol · Changwon, KOR

Germany's Junghaenel won the Gold Medal for both 50m Rifle Prone and 50m Rifle 3 Positions. “Shooting is a great psychological practice”, he said.

Henri Junghaenel quickly decided what his sport should have been. “I was 9 years old - he told us – and there was a historical market in my hometown. They had a shooting booth so I begged my parents to give me some money to shoot there.”

Fortunately, they seconded their son's desire, so that he could start sowing seeds in his field. Well, in his shooting field. Henri has been harvesting the rewards quite early: in 2004, when he was just 16, he took part for the fist time in the European Championships held in Munich, competing as a Junior.


Why did Junghaenel like this sport? “It's a great challenge on the psychological level – explained Henri - because you need to stay focused for a long period of time.”
This make clears the essence of shooting, which pushed him on the way to success.


In fact, Junghaenel soon participated in many other European Championships, finally coming to his first medal (a Silver one) in the 2008 Winterthur edition. Then, he joined many World Cups, getting to his best results in 2010 and 2011. Those 2 years gave him 2 Bronze, 1 Silver and 1 Gold Medals.


Now, the German athlete reached another great outcome, winning two Gold medals at the first World Cup Stage of the year in Changwon, Korea. First at the 50m Rifle Prone, then at the 50m Rifle 3 Positions event.


Life brought him far from his homeland: Henri is now living in Kentucky, where he studies mechanical engineering at the Kentucky University. There, he has a chance to train, and compete against some of the strongest rifle shooters of the world. A great chance, that kept him going, even now that the rules are changed.


This was indeed the first prone match to be conducted with the new rules: the qualification score is not carried forward into the final, and eliminations decide who stays in the match.


“It feels great. - He said - It was definitely a tough match because of the rain. The wind didn't come consistently from the same side, so it was hard to tell how it would have effected. Anyway, I'm pretty confident with my position, so I just tried to stay focused and it worked out.”


No matter the rain, no matter the wind: “Shooting is a psychological challenge” – as Henri said – and with his mind he overcame the obstacles and arrived to the highest step of the podium.


After this achievement, Henri is ready to get back to the shooting range for another challenge. “I'll definitely go to Fort Benning – he said - for the World Cup in May”.

He'll be right in the place that gave him the first Gold Medal of his career, in 2011.


Henri is quite young, but he's almost been to all the most important shooting events. “The Olympics are the only event I'm missing. - He said - I actually wanted to go to London last year, but it didn't work out. That's probably the biggest goal for the future.”

Another shooter on his way to Rio2016: Henri, and his powerful mind.

Alessandro Ceschi


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