Federico Gil lived through countless situations in an unusual 2020 for world sport. He went from having to improvise training routines in a department in the city of Buenos Aires to shooting again in the comfort of the court he built at the end of 2018 in Arrecifes. From a few first weeks without much to do in the lockdown due to the coronavirus quarantine that began to rule in Argentina in March, to not having a free minute after launching a new personal project related to sport shooting, his passion. And from the joy and anxiety of knowing practically inside Tokyo 2020 to the annoyance for the last minute rule change which will force you to wait to seal your ranking.
Gil became the first Argentine to reach the podium in the ranking at the beginning of April 2020, in the modality skeet, thanks to his great performance in the World Cup in Nicosia, Cyprus, in which he took the silver medal, the third of his career after the gold of Larnaca, also in Cyprus in 2017, and the bronze in the final stage of that same year in New Delhi. Thus he climbed to third place, with 990 points, a position that would have classified him directly for the Olympic Games, if it were not for the pandemic.
Because the original system indicated that the ranking closed on May 31 and with the Swedish Stefan nilsson, first with 1,129 units, already classified, and the Italian Luigi lodde, second with 1,108, releasing the square because his country had already filled its quotas, the only ticket at stake in this way was for him. But finally, the International Shooting Federation (ISSF) changed the rules of the game.
On May 29, two days before his place was confirmed, the Buenos Aires native received an email explaining that the quota would only be delivered in 2021, after a date for the World Cup in India, which could not be played last year due to the health crisis and will be held from March 18 to 29.
Federico Gil and his father and coach Horacio, with the silver medal of the Nicosia World Cup, in March 2020. Photo Instagram @ federicogil125
In a chat with Clarion In May, the 31-year-old from Buenos Aires had shown his happiness for this classification, which was almost a fact, although he had also anticipated that nothing was confirmed.
“I live for and for shooting. Since 2015 I have been in the top 10. And to achieve a greater achievement than I had already had, which was to be fifth in the ranking, is a very great satisfaction. But I was not looking for that third place. Everything was focused on doing my best to be among the best and as a consequence climbing in the ranking to achieve the quota for Tokyo. Last year, I had not achieved my place in the qualifying competitions. So yes or yes, I had to make sure of to be as high as possible in the ranking, which is my last chance, and we are working for that. But we have to wait, I can’t get my hopes up because suddenly they decide something else, “he had commented.
So it happened. And although it was not a total surprise, the modification that the ISSF introduced in the classification criteria did not sit well with him.
“That change at the last minute bothered me. The federation assured us that the ranking – which is updated every month – is not going to change until that competition in India, which is good. But the quotas were delivered on May 31 In the past, we had all competed under the same conditions. Now, instead, we are going to have to throw one last competition in March and when that time comes, I will drag a whole year of inactivity and my opponents, a whole year of competition. Because in Europe they were competing not only at the national level, but also in Grand Prix-type tournaments between neighboring countries. My opponents, all top 10 like me, were able to face each other once or twice a month in the last months of 2020, “he reflected after learning about the change.
-You are going to be a bit at a disadvantage for that last tournament that could decide who goes to Tokyo …
-I don’t know whether to call it a disadvantage. Perhaps that situation generates more desire for me, which is transformed into motivation and we end up making results even much higher than expected. But objectively, the situation seems unfair. And we are very concerned about it. Because while the Europeans were competing, we were here training, behind closed doors, alone. Because I am training with my sister Melisa (NdR: also marksman and already classified to Tokyo), but I can’t even do it with a sparring. And in what we do, it helps us to have a partner at the same time pulling, because it helps you put yourself in a competitive situation, allows you to measure yourself and makes you demand more of yourself.
The Buenos Aires native, who had his Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro 2016, recalled that after returning from competing in Cyprus at the beginning of March, the first months of quarantine he lived in a department in the Federal Capital, training as he could the physical part. “I couldn’t jog, which would have served me well, nor did I have a fixed bike, because since I have everything in Arrecifes, he grabbed me empty-handed,” he said.
But after 90 days in that “confinement” he was able to return to the field that they built in a family field in Arrecifes, similar to the one that will be used in the Olympic event in 2021. “We have the same machinery, the same electronics, the same computers. Everything is simulating the court in Tokyo. And I also have my gym set up for the specific exercises that my sport requires, “he explained.
– Did those three months without being able to shoot affect you a lot?
-Actually while I was standing I did a lot of physical training. So when I got back on the court, I found that I weighed ten kilos less. The first 20 days were a bit of an adaptation. And then I did get back to my level and shoot really very well. That’s why I have that feeling of wanting to already be competing, which is mixed with the concern that time continues to pass and we continue without competition, while the rest of the world has already returned.
Federico Gil wants to get to Tokyo.
Gil was one of the athletes who applauded the International Olympic Committee’s decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for this year. “I was really very afraid that they would be canceled. So when they were postponed, I was happy,” he commented shortly after the move of the appointment was made official.
Today, on the other hand, he has mixed feelings. “On the one hand, I think that everything is working for the better and that suddenly this postponement will allow us to arrive more prepared. But I also would have liked the Games to have been held this year, because of the level I have and how it came, getting into the finals or on the podium in all competitions. I returned to training weekly and I feel that I am at my best level, in my best performances, “he said.
Gil in a photo production with Clarín in 2017, after winning gold at the Larnaca World Cup. Photo Guillermo Rodriguez Adami
Your new project
Restless and ambitious, Federico doesn’t stop for a second. Usually, when he is not training or competing, he spends his time studying family law. But the almost absolute inactivity of a different 2020 and the first months of quarantine left him a lot of free time. Thus, he took the opportunity to make an old dream come true that had been turning him around for a long time and that, how could it be otherwise, will follow another tradition of the Gil. He created an importing company for arms and ammunition.
Melisa, Horaco and Federico, in Rio 2016. The Gils share a love for shooting and the legal profession. Photo Instagram @ federicogil125
“I always wanted to go back to having a great importer, like the one my father had in the 90s. To go back to get into the world of weapons, my great passion, from the commercial point of view. Sports inactivity generated a lot of free time. , so I took the opportunity to set up this new company. I represent in Argentina different brands of saucers, shotguns, and plate-throwing machines, but I decided to expand that activity. And I ended up qualifying the importer in the Arms Registry, refurbishing a warehouse that had remained of that old activity of my family, and we started with this new project, “he said.
“As a result of the years that I have been competing, I know in great detail which are the best brands and the best accessories. I want to take advantage of my international experience and the knowledge I have to bring the best materials to Argentina. Today, for example, we are preparing to install the equipment of the new Argentine Federal Shot, when the time comes. The company came up with the idea of bringing to the country products that the big importers do not find economically interesting and I do, because I use them to compete and because I am a A fanatic and passionate about shooting and I like to share my passion with people, “he explained.