Shooter Alessandra Perilli – one of five Sammarine athletes at the Olympics – is the new heroine of the micro-state, which has 34,000 inhabitants, after winning a bronze medal in the women’s trap.
Perilli’s victory made San Marino now the smallest country in history to win a medal at the Olympics.
Slovakian Zuzana Rehak Stefecekova, who hit 43 of her 50 targets to set an Olympic record, won gold, while Team USA’s Kayle Browning won silver.
In 2012, Perilli became the first sammarine athlete, of both sexes in any sport, to finish fourth or more in an Olympic event, when she came fourth in trap at the London Games.
“During the final, when the fifth shooter came out, I thought I didn’t want to be fourth again, so I have to get there,” Perilli told reporters.
“This is the first medal for me and for my country. We are a small country but very proud,” she said after the medal ceremony. “They [country] are sure to be going crazy, crying. I don’t know, but for sure now they are. ”
“We won the medal together”
Perilli, 33, started shooting in 2001, when she was introduced to the sport by her father.
Her sister Arianna Perilli is also a shooter. She represented Italy and San Marino in the sport and won trap gold at the 2017 European Championships in Azerbaijan.
Between 2013 and 2014, Perilli retired from the sport for seven months, after becoming pregnant with her son.
“We went through this whole process and we won the medal together as a team,” said Perilli reflecting on his success.
“Now the first person I would like to say is thank you to my coach Luca Di Mari. We have really done a lot together. We have had ups and downs but we have been successful together,” she said. .
“But I think we’re like a big family, all together. And that’s what I love the most. It’s what helps us win, and allows us to move forward,” said she added.
Eyes on the prize
San Marino first participated in the Summer Games in 1960 in Rome.
The National Olympic Committee has always registered the most athletes in shooting, where it has obtained its best results, but if Perilli had the weight of the expectation on her shoulders, she did not show it.
“There was no pressure, only the support of my country, my team, my federation and the Olympic committee,” she said.
In an inspiring message to young athletes, she said: “Keep playing sports and dreaming.”
Perilli will then take part in the mixed team trap event on Saturday, alongside fellow Samarino shooter Gian Marco Berti.
Wrestler Myles Nazem Amine, judoka Paolo Persoglia and swimmer Arianna Valloni are the other athletes of the San Marino team.
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