Three-time Olympic sport shooting champion Niccolò Campriani has started an ambitious challenge of coaching a group of novice refugee athletes and helping them qualify for the Tokyo Olympic 2020 Games.
The Italian won the 50 meters rifle three positions Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and Rio 2016 where he also won the 10m air rifle gold medal. But he claims his latest challenge could be even tougher. Fans who want to watch the live competition of Olympic Rifle and Pistol can get Olympic Rifle and Pistol Tickets online.
Campriani retired as an athlete after his Rio 2016 heroics but his latest venture which will be documented by the Olympic Channel will target the minimum qualifying score for the refugee athletes as they seek a place at Tokyo 2020.
At the time I struggled to come to terms with that gold and I donated the difference in prize money to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“That experience had a huge impact on me and made me think about how I could use my status as an Olympian and the network I had grown for a cause that I feel close to my heart.”
Campriani moved to Lausanne in 2017 to become the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) sports intelligence manager and presented his refugee project proposal to the local immigration office at the end of 2018.
He started interviewing candidates and out of a restricted group of local refugees he selected three people a man named Mahdi and two women Khaoula and Luna.
This weekend Campriani will take the trio into their first test at the Italian Shooting Championships in Bologna and he hopes his coaching efforts can inspire other Olympians to follow suit.
“I wanted to show that an Olympic champion has access to a unique network and can quickly raise funds when an athlete retires one of his biggest challenges is to find new goals and most of all a new purpose.”
The Florence-born shooter claimed his visits to Zambia reminded him not to feel sorry for the refugees but to give them a belief, a statement he is now using to help the athletes chase their Olympic dreams.
Campriani said. “This sport has taught me a lot about how to manage my emotions my fears and my instincts.”
Campriani took almost two years to achieve the minimum qualifying score for the Olympics but said the sporting outcome is secondary in the challenge’s aims.
Campriani said. “These guys train at the World Archery Excellence Centre in Lausanne they have only me as a reference they can’t compare themselves with other shooters.”
The journey of the three selected refugees is being documented by the Olympic Channel original series Taking Refuge Target Tokyo Summer Games 2020 due to being broadcast early next year.