Hungarian sport shooter István Péni already competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro when he was only 19-year-old, but in Tokyo the European champion wants to have a more successful performance. While in Rio his strength only included air rifle shooting, now he could also make it to the final in 10 and 20 meter shooting. After the “doping scandal” in March and the difficulties it caused which lasted for months, he nevertheless believes that he is also mentally strong enough to do well in Tokyo. The Hungarian sport shooters already left for the Japanese capital last Friday.
Besides fan-favorite István Péni, three rifle shooters and one pistol shooter will compete as well. It is a very young team; except for Péni, this year’s Olympics will be the first for all the other athletes. According to the federation captain, Péni has the best chance to win gold, but Eszter Mészáros, Zalán Pekler, and Veronika Major could also make it to the final.
Péni is not only physically but mentally strong as well. He is able to make up a gap of two laps shortly before the end. He is very motivated and ready to do everything to win.
Éva Joó, world and European champion, and seventh in rifle shooting at the ’96 Olympics, said to the portal nemzetisport.hu: “It became clear early on that Istók is an outstanding sporting talent, with a great will to win. The will to win has been his main motivation since his youth, which he now combines with great expertise. He is a true professional, always looking for new ways and solutions. When he comes up with something new, he even goes to the shooting range at night to try it out.”
We can’t talk about results on paper in sport shooting, because the results depend on small things, but the fact is that Péni can finish among the best in both individual disciplines. It is also an important testimony to his mental strength that he was able to achieve excellent results during a very difficult time.
FactIstván Péni was born in Budapest in 1997. At the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in China, he won the bronze medal in 10m air rifle shooting and the gold medal as a member of the international mixed shooting team. At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, he became the youngest shooter to finish 13th in 10m air rifle shooting. He also has two European Championship gold medals and one World Championship silver medal. In March 2021, he was ranked first in the world rankings of air rifle shooters after winning a silver medal in the 10meter at the World Championships in New Delhi.
Péni has had a tough time, for example n March 2021, a “prohibited substance” was found in his doping test at the World Championships in India. However, after a comprehensive investigation by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), he was acquitted. It was proven that he had fallen victim to “sabotage.”
As Péni said in a recent interview, he was notified on April 15th that his test result in India was positive because furosemide had been found in his body. The Hungarian Shooting Sports Federation launched an investigation, which included video footage from the hotel. “As a result, it was found that Hungarian sports shooter Péter Sidi apparently entered Péni’s hotel room and stayed there for 45 minutes.” Péter Sidi did not give any explanation to the three questions of the president of the Hungarian Shooting Sports Federation: Who had allowed him to enter Péni’s room? Who gave him a key to it? What was he doing in his room?” The vitamins left in the athlete’s room were later examined and it was found that the above-mentioned powder (furosemide) was mixed with Péni’s vitamin D tablets. On June 21st, Sidi was finally banned for two years and the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) cleared Péni of doping charges.
The whole case complicated Péni’s preparation: instead of training, he was busy organizing his legal defense and collecting evidence.
The first men’s final in sport shooting will be held in Tokyo on July 25th at 8:30am in 10meter shooting.
Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI