Andrej Krstinic: “I have never been a European champion so maybe that’s a thing I need to do next year”.
The triumphant of the 20th World Crossbow Championship in “Field” and “Match” divisions, the winner of 4 gold medals out of 5 possible, Andrej Krstinic told us about his path to success. Read about the competition, friendship and team spirit in crossbow shooting as well as further plans and goals of the World champion in an exclusive interview specially for www.iau-crossbow.org
- Andrej, first of all, let us congratulate you on your successful performance at the 20th World Crossbow Championship in “Field” and “Match” divisions in Ulyanovsk: 4 gold medals – 3 of which are in individual and 1 – in team classifications. Could you, please, tell us what the secret of your success is and how you managed to achieve such a result and win 4 gold medals out of 5 possible?
- Thank you for your congratulations and I would like to say “hello” to all our crossbow friends...Well it was not easy but first of all it was dedication and big motivation to get back to the top after four years and my gold in Ulan -Ude. This year I had special motivation because my coach passed away and I wanted to win one more time for him and this is my way to tell him thank you for everything, this is for you. This season after a long-time calendar was longer and the World Championship was in August which is very good because you have time to prepare everything and to shoot enough competitions before the most important one. I started training at the beginning of May and I counted I shoot around 3700 shots, I trained 65 days out of 85 before the World Championship and some of those 20 I spend travelling from competitions and some resting. Besides, there was a lot of gym and jogging training. So, I can say I really did very good preparation this year and I had some new experiences like I didn’t win any competitions this year which was something new for me. But I was really optimistic before my trip to Russia because I knew I had done my utmost this summer for that competition and what’s more I had good experience with shooting in Russia and I expected some wind so I was really ready to do it as I did.
- You’ve got a gold medal in Final Men, Men Team, Absolute Men 50 m and Absolute Men 65 m disciplines. There is only one medal missing in the category Absolute Men 35 m to make a complete set. What did you lack or what prevented you from becoming the winner in this classification?
- 35m medal...Well, isn’t it ironic? I’m world record holder on 35m and then again I won 50m and 65m gold and on the 35m I didn’t win even the medal...Well, first day on 35m I had the best score 296, but for me 35m next morning is always a problem, first of all you don’t win the competition on 35m because we are all in small differences because 35m we shoot from 288 till 295 and when you shoot 291-2 it’s not bad for a bad day and that’s what happened to me. I made the last shot at 35m distance 8 which was a disaster for me and with that I had 291. I think I finished 5-7 place, with 10 I would have 293 and the fourth place. But the main problem for me about 35m in the morning is that I did not warm up as I should have done and the result can be a little lower and that’s what happened, so I needed some time to relax for my best shots but I think we all had that problem and that’s why I said you don’t win or lose competition on 35m.
- Judging by your result, windy weather in Ulyanovsk didn’t disturb you, did it? Or there were still some difficulties during the competitions? Many athletes suppose that windy weather is often a hindrance to achieving high results, what’s your thoughts on this?
- We all know how my shooting is in windy conditions and this is always my advantage and that’s why I was looking forward to the competition in Ulyanovsk because I expected wind, unfortunately there was this round at 65m when we had problems with time and it was cancelled and Domagoj could come closer to me, but anyway, I was leading all the way then on windy 65m and it is always my advantage, we could say that Rafael Nadal is on clay, that’s me on windy competition.
- Please, share your impressions of the 20th World Crossbow Championship in “Field” and “Match” divisions in Ulyanovsk. What was this Championship remarkable for, to your mind? Was there anything special about it?
- We (competitors) always love participating in competitions in Russia because it’s well known for very good organization, a lot of volunteers - I would like to thank Masha and Sasha for helping and choosing good restaurants for us because that was really important. In Ulyanovsk opening ceremony was very nice, during competitions we had everything we asked for and also activities by the river and the banquet were very nicely organized so we brought bright memories and good impressions from Ulyanovsk.
- What mood were you in before your trip to Ulyanovsk? Were you aimed at becoming the winner?
- Honestly, and my friends, my coach and club President can confirm that, I had never been so confident before the trip to Ulyanovsk this year. As I mentioned before, I did my best in training and preparations and I expected the best result of the season which including the wind should bring me gold, with that spirit I came to the competition and I shot my best result of the season and my best ever with final since I started crossbow shooting. So, I had good expectations before the World Championship.
- As far as rivals are concerned, who, in your view, is the main rival of the Croatian team in “Field” division? And personally, for you?
- For me personally it’s always Domagoj (my roommate) so you can say our room decides the gold winner but there are also some more good shooters like brothers Hillenbrand, the French guys who were not there unfortunately and young Russian shooters, like Iakov Avdeev, who shot the second result of the second day which was very good and shows that there are shooters who can join us on top but they still have to improve the result of both days to catch up with us.
- This year there was a record number of crossbow shooters at the World Championship – about 400 athletes from 33 countries all over the world. Was there anyone from the “new” rivals who managed to impress you?
- Unfortunately, I was really focused on my shooting and didn’t really have time to look what was happening around me but I can say that I’m very happy that something is going on and that we are expanding and getting new members because its always more interesting with more competitors and nations. As a new IAU athlete Ambassador, I will be glad to help.
- Probably, everyone has special feelings when they compete for medals against the athletes from their national team. On the one hand, medals will certainly go to Croatia, on the other hand, the first place is only one. What do you feel in this situation? Please, share your emotions.
- In our Croatian team we are like a family and I’m among the oldest there and also their captain so our first goal is always to help each other to get the best scores and first of all to win team gold medals. The second day is always a new story and a new competition but we still help each other with advice about the wind and to make each other feel relaxed. We are really good shooters and athletes and we never say who will be better. We concentrate on our performance and the one who is luckier, wins, in the end it’s nice to receive a medal but we always say only the first one you remember and this time it was my pleasure.
- What place does crossbow shooting occupy in your life?
- So far as I don’t have wife and kids, crossbow shooting is one of my priorities and that’s why I’m working in winter in Austria so I can afford not working during spring and summer to focus completely on shooting and competitions.
- How did you happen to try this kind of sport? What attracted you in crossbow shooting?
- I’ve been training air rifle since I was 7, so this year is a 30 year anniversary, in 2007 my coach Josip Cuk decided we should try crossbow shooting because air rifle season was over, starting in May and finishing in September, so our break was too long and as not to feel bored we started crossbow shooting. I really liked it from the very beginning and I got some good results and at first European Championship in St Petersburg 2007 I won the first ever men team gold for Croatia with me winning a silver medal which was great. What impressed me most in crossbow shooting is shooting in all conditions like rain, wind or hot sunny day - you just have to stay there and shoot as well as you can and I really enjoy that challenge.
- What do you go in for in your everyday life, apart from sport?
- Well, currently I’m in Austria working as a waiter because this way I can choose when I want to work and when I want to train. This way I can earn enough money so when a crossbow season starts, I can focus only on shooting. Before that I was a coach for air rifle in my club for 8 years and we had good results and also, I was a national team coach for juniors and had very good experience with some famous athletes from the world of shooting. Now I following everything when I work and when I’m off season I like travelling around and shooting a crossbow.
- Speaking about the highest result, what main goal do you set in your sports career?
- As crossbow shooting is not an Olympic sport and I’m not so young any more to win Olympic medals with air rifle I can proudly say I accomplished all my goals some years ago in Ulan - Ude when I became the World champion. This year there was another crown of my career with four gold medals. I was also thinking of retiring but I think my team still needs me and I still enjoy doing it. So now I enjoy shooting and competing and wining of course. Actually, I have never been a European champion so maybe that’s a thing I need to do next year. As an athlete, I always find some challenges and set goals.
- Please, share your further plans for this sports season?
- Goals for this season are more then accomplished, so my further plans are set for the World Cup Final which is to be held in our country, in Dubrava. I didn’t go to the World Cup Final last year, so I’m really excited about this one because everyone was talking how nice and exiting it was. It will be bonus at the end of the season for me with no special expectations about the result- I did what I wanted in Ulyanovsk. Now I will be working in Austria for a while and then maybe I’ll compete in Slavonski Brod and after that relax a little, travelling, and then take part in the final competition. I hope that there will be all the best shooters in all the categories to be able to compete and finish the season together with one more nice banquet.