August 5, 2008 / 9:27 AM / 10 years ago

One-eyed shooter sets sight on gold

BEIJING (Reuters) - Blinded in one eye by cancer from the age of two, French shooter Veronique Girardet did not have any aspirations for the Olympics.

The 42-year-old’s first love was clay-pigeon shooting, where she was a four-time world champion.

Seven years ago, at the ripe age of 35, she “had a sudden urge to change” and switched to skeet with Olympic success her one and only goal.

“Since I was a young girl, I always dreamed of being world champion,” she said.

“Had clay-pigeon been an Olympic sport, I would have had Olympic dreams too, now I’m trying to make up for lost time.”

Girardet, who won the world skeet title in 2005, has overcome the handicap and speaks freely of her missing eye.

“Shooting is more a matter of concentration than a matter of sight. It would be more difficult should I shoot at still targets,” she said.

“I’m a just a little bit disturbed when skeets come from the left.

“But otherwise, I’m more disturbed in everyday life because I don’t have the peripheral vision.”

Girardet was introduced to shooting by her late father when she was 16.

“He gave me strength and convinced me I could make it.

“I always have the impression he’s watching me.”

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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