SPOTLIGHT ON YOUTH - WESTERHEIM: BORN IN THE SHOOTING RANGE
Well begun is half done. Malin Westerheim's father was probably thinking of that proverb, when he had brought her 3-week-old (!) daughter at the shooting range, just to watch his trainings. Malin's dad - clearly - was a shooter, and tried hard to get her into this sport since the very beginning. What did he give Malin to celebrate her 10th birthday? A rifle, of course. The first one - to make her shooting career start off.
But Malin had some doubts about that: "At first, I was a bit skeptical. None of my friends practised this sport, - explained the Norwegian Westerheim - but that turned out to be a good point: it's good to be able to be a bit different, not just like everyone else."
Then, Westerheim got serious - and her results did as well, with the first medals. European Championship was her favorite competition: in 2010 - at the age of 17 - Malin won a bronze in Meraker, Norway, competing as a Junior in the 10m Air Rifle event; she then repeated that same success three years later, in Odense. Between those two events, she also won a gold in Bologna, Italy (50m Rifle Prone) in 2012.
Malin had also took part in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore, but is not going to compete in the next edition, in Nanjing (age limitation is 14 to 18, Malin will be 20): "I wish I could be there again. Singapore was great!" - said the 19-year old Westerheim.
The Junior era is over, but Malin found the way to honour at her best this step forward: a World Cup gold medal - her very first one. She did it today, in Granada.
Malin qualified for the 50m Rifle 3 Position Women final, which was also her debut in a final round a World Cup. She was about to face such experienced athletes as Petra Zublasing and Adela Sykorova, but she was not scared: "I was really calm, - said Malin - I didn't think I would have been so relaxed."
Calm, but still active: Westerheim took 3rd place just after the first round of the match and started climbing the standings - first to 2nd position and then to 1st one, thanks to an impressive 52.4 scored in the 3rd Prone series.
Even if she couldn't eventually hold the lead, Westerheim kept focused and made it to the podium, pocketing bronze - actually her very first World Cup medal.
A great result, which doesn't seem to set her down: "In 9 days - said Malin, after the medal ceremony - I'll be at the European Championship in Croatia: that's my first goal from now on." And when it comes to declare her goals, Malin is not getting around the bush: "I'm going for gold."
Her dad made her start well. She continued better.