Member of the Serbian National Shooting Team discusses all that shooting has brought her, the phenomenon of Serbian sport, but also the traditional Serbian dishes she prefers to make.
Most people, when they first enter a shooting range, usually love the adrenalin that shooting at a target brings. Why do you, as a professional, still love shooting? How do you feel standing opposite that target?
Shooting is my way of life. It taught me that the greatest and most difficult struggle is the internal struggle. In addition to my untamed, temperamental character, shooting allowed me to develop traits such as self-control, calmness, focus and patience, which make me the woman I am today. I think it is the challenge, to be the best version of me I can be, that keeps me in shooting to this day.
All great professionals always primarily compete with themselves, which is why the personal experience of success does not always match the great success that everyone can see. What is your happiest professional moment and which was your proudest, in which you were the most satisfied with your result?
Every athlete dreams of an Olympic medal. I am proud to say that my first Games, in London 2012, were my happiest professional moment. From the very beginning of my shooting career, my greatest motivation was my dad’s gold Olympic medal. The dream to be as great as him came true even sooner than I had imagined.
You mentioned your father, Goran Maksimović, ex Serbian marksman and Olympic gold medallist from Seoul 1988. Did the success of your father, with whom people inevitably compare you, bring about some form of special pressure for you?
The burden of family success and tradition and my own Olympic medals was not easy to carry. Expectations were at their highest, all eyes were on us. The moment in which I matured, became more aware of things and when shooting became more than a game for me was the moment I won the gold medal at the European Championship, which, to this day, represents my greatest internal struggle.
Serbian sport is a phenomenon unto itself, one would say. Whether in group or in individual sports, our country can boast a large number of champions. How do you interpret Serbian sports and what does it feel like to be a part of a sporting nation, or, more precisely, a team of brilliant young individuals that regularly bring joy to their people and incite such great admiration?
Serbia has always been a sporting nation, full of talented and ambitious athletes who will pull all the stops on the court to represent our colours. Shooting brought me many beautiful friendships and acquaintances, as well as a chance to meet our best athletes. Every conversation with them, every match watched is a new inspiration for me. The strength you get from all these amazing people is enormous and I believe all those who cheer us on feel it, too.
How often do you train? What is the next objective you have set for yourself?
Olympics come in four-year periods and have to be meticulously planned and organized. I am now in the preparation stage. I am working on numerous improvements. Qualifications for the 2020 games start next year in September, at the World Championship in Korea. Placing in the finals of that competition and thus qualifying for the Games is currently my most important goal.
What do you like best about Serbia? What do you recommend your friends from abroad, when they come to Serbia, that they should not miss out on?
In addition to wonderful places, which are so numerous in Serbia, our traditional Serbian cuisine is an inevitable part of the experience. I always recommend that and that is what the foreigners always like best. Personally, I love to cook. Sarma, stuffed peppers, moussaka and beans are dishes I love to cook abroad and present to our friends.
by: Miljana Nešković