Czech juniors worth watching at shooting championships in Prague, says Olympic gold medallist Kateřina Emmons

20-02-2009

This weekend Prague is hosting the European Air Weapons Championships, an indoor shooting event that takes place at the city’s O2 Arena. Czech 10-m air rifle Olympic champion Kateřina Emmons, whose American husband Matthew Emmons also has an Olympic gold in his medals collection, is pregnant and not competing, though she will be in attendance. On the eve of the championships, I asked Kateřina Emmons if shooting had become more popular in the Czech Republic in the wake of her success.

Kateřina Emmons, photo: Petr Novák, CC BY-SA 2.5Kateřina Emmons, photo: Petr Novák, CC BY-SA 2.5 “That’s an interesting question, because I think it increased a lot. I’m really thankful for that. I have to say that Czech TV did a hell of a job with the Olympic Games and all the stuff around them. So after the Olympics it’s noticeably bigger.”

What role will you yourself play at the European Championships? I should tell our listeners you’re expecting a baby.

“[laughs] I’ll co-operate with Czech TV and we’ll so some not live shots, but what do you call them, reviews. That will my biggest job there, co-operating with Czech TV. And then of course supporting my team.”

Will you do any kind of exhibition shooting?

“[laughs] No, no, no, no – no kind of shooting!”

What particular events are you looking forward to watching as a spectator?

“Mostly I’ll be watching my events. And of course the junior category too – I’m really curious how our juniors are going to do, because they’re in pretty good shape. I’m just curious to see how they will handle it. They’ve been having really good results and they have a chance of reaching the final.”

Do you mind if I ask, I know you’ve been spending time in America, time here in the Czech Republic since the Olympics – where are you planning to have your child?

O2 ArenaO2 Arena “The baby will be born here in the Czech Republic. It’s just easier for me. I’m still not used to the system over there, so it’s just much more comfortable here for me. Since the Olympics we spent three months in the States and then we came here before Christmas. We’re here pretty much until July.”

When will we see you back in competitive shooting?

“I’m planning on shooting two matches in the US by the end of the year. One is in September, October and the other one is in December. Those will be my testing competitions, and then I’ll decide when I want to come back to big shooting.”

Given the parents, your child could well turn out to be a champion shooter himself or herself. When do kids begin shooting? At what age can a child actually start to learn to shoot?

“I’m more of a supporter of a later start, not really late but later, around 16. Because I don’t think that kids are mature enough to understand shooting completely before they’re 15. Of course that depends on the kid, but I think the ideal should be 15, 16.”

20-02-2009