Christian Reitz, the reigning Olympic champion in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol, is a man on a mission. Still smarting from his ninth place finish at last year’s World Championship in Korea, Reitz will be in Delhi for the year’s first International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup aiming to show the world that he is still a force to reckon with the pistol.
In an email interaction, Reitz said that his preparations for the season-opening World Cup were focused more on reaching the finals than a Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota place, 16 of which would be dished out at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range, including two in Reitz’s pet event.
The field is tough with seven of the world’s top 10 in the field, including Reitz at number eight, entered to compete, and the German will have to dig deep. The 31-year old has a tremendous record having won almost everything there is to win in the event – RFP Qualification world record holder, junior world champion, four times European Champion, two-time World Cup Finals winner and nine World Cup gold medals to go with his Olympic gold.
In the men’s 10m air pistol as well, Reitz will get tough competition from the reigning Olympic Champion Xuan Vinh Hoang of Vietman and Rio silver medalist Felipe Wu of Brazil along with India’s talented Asian Games champion Saurabh Chaudhary.
Reitz also draws inspiration from his unique situation where his wife, Sandra is an accomplished shooter herself and the duo represent Germany’s mixed pistol team.
What is your goal in the upcoming New Delhi World Cup and how are the preparations?
The preparations have been intensive and everything looks well. I want to show that I can reach the final, in the final anything could happen.
As the reigning Olympic champion, your Tokyo 2020 quota has still not been secured. Is there any kind of pressure?
The pressure is nearly the same like previous years. Every year, I have to qualify for the highest competitions in the year [European Championships / World Championships]. The special thing for the Olympics is the quota. Usually when the results are good, the quota place comes along....
What is the structure for the sport in Germany that has produced so many top-level shooters consistently?
The German Federation does very good work with young shooters. Germany does not have so many shooters, but with the shooters we have there is a lot of good and hard work put in. Maybe that is the reason for our success.
How do you see India’s progress in the world of shooting and what are your thoughts on Indian shooters?
Some years ago I did not see so many Indian shooters, but over a period of time there has been a real increase in the number of Indian shooters in top level competitions. I think the progress is good and more and more Indian shooters will become established in the world of top-class shooting.
Your first outing in New Delhi went medal-less. What are your thoughts on the range, the atmosphere and how comfortable are you shooting here?
The shooting range is in good condition. When I was there, we had some problems with the lights at the 25m range but I think they have been fixed now. The rest I think is really good. A great complex, everything is close together and everything is there what a shooter needs for a good competition.
Who do you see as your main contenders in New Delhi?
We will see. It is hard to say... It is a new season and for every discipline it is different.
How is it like having your wife Sandra as your teammate? Do you discuss and help each other in your respective events while on tour or does each of you have different preparation routines?
Our preparation is in some points different as well as our technique... a lot of things are quite similar but not everything. We train together and we try to help each other. When you know each other very well I think it is easier to shoot. You know what the other maybe will do, if something happens. If you know how the partner will react it is easier to shoot, everything is a little bit familiar. So it helps in the mixed events, yes.