UV student Paula Morcillo, bronze medallist in the Olympic Shooting World Championship
The 18-year-old shooter combines her 1st year studies in the International Business Degree with training in a sport that requires mental strength, concentration and precision.
Paula Morcillo has achieved this weekend the greatest success so far in her promising sporting career. “Last year I came fourth in the World Championships, just short of the medals, and this year I managed to get on the podium”, Paula tells us excitedly, aware that this is only the beginning, because at 18 years of age, the Olympic dream, although distant, is becoming more and more real.
The Olympic Shooting World Championships were held in Croatia from 23rd to 26th September and Paula Morcillo returned with a great result. The young shooter, a native of Alfàs del Pi (Alicante), has achieved a meritorious third position in the mixed event of Olympic trench. Together with their teammate Juan Antonio García, they qualified for the final for the bronze medal in the junior category and won the precious metal after defeating the mixed team from China with a convincing final score of 7-1.
Paula Morcillo started in the world of Olympic shooting when she was only 15 years old, she discovered it through her father. It was in July 2019 when he joined the Alfàs del Pi Clay Pigeon Shooting Club and started training. In her first competition she was runner-up in the Spanish junior category, and since then she has not stopped achieving success.
“My dream is to go to the Olympics, but it's still a long way off because I'm still a junior. I won't be a Lady (senior) until I'm 21 and I won't be able to fight for a place at the Olympic Games,” explains the shooter, “the positive thing is that until then I have plenty of time to continue training, consolidating myself as a shooter, focusing on where I want to go and perfecting details”.
Paula is studying the first year of the International Business Degree in the Faculty of Economics at the Universitat de València. “Combining classes and exams with training is not easy, I usually go everywhere with my notes and I try to study whenever I have time, I take advantage of the car journeys to competitions and all the breaks to memorise the syllabus and get good grades”, Paula says.
The 18-year-old shooter trains between 3 and 4 hours a day at the Cheste shooting range, under the orders of her coach Salvador Narbona, a dedication that she alternates with running and the gym, to gain strength and endurance. “In addition to physical strength, mental strength is essential in this sport, so I do a lot of concentration exercises, and work to improve confidence and decision making... you need to be very focused when you are going to shoot and know what your goal is,” she says.
"Olympic shooting is an individual sport but companionship is fundamental," says Paula, which is why one of the things she enjoys most is the mere fact of "talking to the other shooters about shooting, learning the methods they use to concentrate, to know how to focus," explains Paula, who confesses to being very passionate about this sport, "the general belief is that shooting is something rough or violent, and it is quite the opposite, you have to be very gentle, have a lot of head, everything is very smooth," she says.
Olympic shooting is a fairly unknown sport in society, especially among young people, “it would be great if this sport could be included in university competitions, both at regional, national and international level”, says the Universitat de Valencia athlete, “this would help young people to learn more about this exciting sport and would help to change stereotypes about shooting”, she says.
This promising youngster, who loves a challenge, confesses that the type of shooting she likes the most is “Olympic skeet shooting, precisely because it is the most complicated, because there is more variety of targets and directions and the speed is greater”.
The sportswoman from Alfàs del Pi has clear goals, in this sport and in life, “I love business, economics, I would like to work in this environment and combine it with shooting,” says Paula. “I dream of going to the Olympics, and to achieve this I will have to keep training hard, but without neglecting my studies. In the end, the Olympic Games are a dream that I see very far away, I would love to live that experience, but it is still too early to consider it as a short-term goal, now I have to focus on the road”, explains the 18-year-old, cautiously, with her feet on the ground, and her finger always on the trigger.