Liepaja, mostly known for an expression "the city where the wind is born” is famous not only for its cultural and historical heritage, but also for the majority of successful sport teams. Football, basketball, ice-hockey, handball, floor-ball and different range of wind sports are playing a significant role in the sport culture in the city.
At the same time these activities overshadow and diminish some other sports. This affected a shooting sport field.
In recent years the level of development of shooting sports in the city is falling significantly.Due to the lack of financial support the rifle ranges do not have enough equipment to prepare a new generation of talented athletes, who have extraordinary abilities in the shooting field. Without proper equipment it is not possible to maintain the interest of the enthusiasts.
A 69-year-old coach, the former record holder and champion of USSR in shooting sports, Vladimir Rozenbladt says: 'There are a lot of competent shooting athletes in the city, but nobody wants to open a professional shooting department at the sport school.'
The shooting sport is a long-term activity, where the age does not play a vital role. Comparing to the team sports, where the career of the athlete is over in the average of 35-year-old, the shooting career at this age is considered to be a peak of the achievements. One striking example of this trend is the famous Soviet and Latvian 67-year-old shooter Athanasuis Kuzmin, who took part in nine Olympic Games so far.
Anastasia Poputnikova, a former 22-year-old Latvian champion in youth shooting, shares her story of success: 'I always wanted to learn to shoot from different kinds of weapons, and when I found out that in the Liepaja secondary school №2 is working an inside shooting range, my dream came true. Under the guidance of an experienced coach Vladimir Pavlovich Rozenbladt, in a short period of time I was able not only to learn how to shoot, but also to achieve amazing results.'
In 2009 Anastasia won a championship in youth shooting in Latvia.
Anastasia mentioned that the conditions of the range "leaved a lot to be desired". The training took place in the non-renovated room with bad illumination. The proper light was presenting only in the zone of shooting. 'There were lots of enthusiasts willing to learn how to shoot, but there was a significant lack of the weapons. Sometimes we had to wait for a long time for our turn to use a gun. Unfortunately, the situation has not improved much', she adds.
During the shooting sessions the athletes are trained not only physically, but also psychologically.
'Increased attention, accuracy and precision of movements – all these features play a vital role in shooting activities. Human attention is inconstant and transient. The aim of the coach is to strain brain activity by daily quizes and every minute control during the training sessions', says Vladimir Rozenbladt.
From a physical point of view it is important to train the dynamic stereotype of the shooter: to train the motion till the point when the movements become automatic.
'Two years of the constant controll, and the athlete will always shoot in the target', commented the coach.
Vladimir Rozenbladt shares a formula on how to become a champion: 'Many people mistakenly believe that insignificant attendance of the training sessions and a good coach is enough to learn how to shoot and become a champion . There are no coaches. The man himself should have a desire to become a champion. Life is a theater. Olympic champion - is a fictional image, and the athlete should live the part.'
Anastasia Poputnikova says: 'To become a champion in youth shooting is not that simple . Shooting has become my life. I focused on the goal, and was training every single day. It was fascinating , because I was doing what I like. I miss those days and hope that the shooting sport is Liepaja will reborn again.'
Vladimir Rozenbladt adds: 'I want to regain the popularity of shooting sport. Due to the recent political events it is important to have a young defense that can protect the Republic.'