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Photo by: Marco Dalla Dea/ISSF pistol athlete of the Year


Emil Milev Despite competing in a sport

where age is often irrelevant, what Emil Milev accomplished in 2013 is impressive nonethe- less.

as a competitive shooter,

Set to enter his 30th year the

fi ve-time Olympian and 1996 Olympic silver medalist,


proven there’s much more left in the tank. He grabbed a bronze medal at the ISSF Granada World Cup while qualifying fi rst and also earned ninth and 19th-place fi nishes in the other two World Cups.

His fi nish in Granada

earned him an invite to his 13th World Cup Finals. Shooting against the top-10 competitors in the world in this event, Milev qualifi ed for the fi nal in the sixth position by shooting a 575 in qualifi cation. After the fi rst competition stage of fi nals, Milev was tied for third with 10 hits. In the second competition stage however, Milev moved to the top of the pack shooting a 4-5-5-4 in the subsequent four, fi ve-shot series. He later sealed

his win with a perfect fi ve hits on the fi nal series. His win was just one hit behind the current world record.

Milev has now earned

at least one World Cup Finals medal in each of the last three decades. “Having the World Cup gives me strength to continue on the path to Rio, even though it is not easy to balance the life of an ordinary school teacher with the demands of a high-level sport,” Milev said.

USA Shooting Hall of Famer

Gary Anderson described it as the “best fi nal I’ve ever seen!” High praise for sure but something we’ve come to ex- pect from Milev since he joined the USA Shooting Team in 2009, fi ve years after relocating to the United States from his native Bulgaria. Milev began shooting in

1984, practicing air pistol in Levski, one of the biggest sports clubs in Bulgaria. One year later he was introduced to rapid fi re pistol and he was hooked. He

80 USA Shooting News | Year in Review 2013

has been married to his wife, Anina, since 1991, and has two children, Alexa and Philip. He is a physical education teacher at B.T. Washington Elementary School in Tampa, Fla. In 2010, Emil and his personal coach, (also Assistant National Pistol Coach) Vladimir Chichkov, estab- lished Pardini USA, LLC for sales, service and development of sports pistols and ammunition. Asked how he’s found joy in shooting his entire career he says:

“I feel good with my Pardini in my hand – it has a relaxing, comforting effect on me. There is something empowering in shoot- ing the center of the target – I’m in control, it is me and the pistol. When winning, it is easy to feel joy. It’s a little harder with the other matches – when nothing goes as planned, when things go wrong and I’m not on the podium. I always look at these competitions as another lesson: there is always something useful to be learned at a competition,

to help build me into a better shooter and a better person. Learn from the mistakes, and fi nd the positive after every prac- tice or match – that, I believe, is the key to being successful.” Outside of that, the key to Mi-

lev’s success is the bond he has with Coach Chichkov who stirs the competitive fi re and deliv- ers the motivation for his prized pupil.

“He is the driving force – making me believe that ‘I can’ and ‘I will,’” admits Milev.


can make even the hardest drills fun and meaningful, and he can convince me to pick up the gun and train even after a long and tiring day. He is the one to repeat to me every day ‘Let’s go to the range, we have to practice.’ Vladi- mir is always thinking of non-tra- ditional ways to practice. He be- lieves in me probably more than I do, and it is so powerful to have a person like this next to you.”

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