Published on March 21st, 2014 | by Daniel Boyle0
Interview – Team Chile Captain Francisca Crovetto
Skeet shooter Francisca Crovetto led the way for Chile at the South American Games, taking the athletes’ oath as well as earning a silver medal for Chile.
Sport/Life talked to Francisca about her plans for the future, Chile’s performance during the South American Games and leading Team Chile.
How was your experience as the first captain of Team Chile?
It has been a beautiful experience, most of all because I was chosen by my peers. It was them who voted for who they wanted to represent the team. I am very proud to have been able to be the first captain of Team Chile.
How do you feel about your performance, were you disappointed not to take gold?
I have two feelings in that regard. On one hand, I am very peaceful, we did everything as a team to prepare well and achieve the goals we wanted, on the other side, these Games had an extra pressure, one that I am not used to living with, it was a great responsibility to represent Chile, being the organising country.
There were plans to close down the shooting fields at the FACh (Chilean Air Force), what was the response from the authorities?
Thanks to the great campaign we made through social networks, thanks to Natalia Riffo, Minister for Sport, Jorge Burgos, Minister for Defence and Neven Ilic, President of the Olympic Committee, an agreement has been made with the FACh. For the rest of this year, the athletes will continue using the polígono de tiro, which means a great deal to us. Now we have to see that the things are not exclusive. Clearly the Federation needs its own venue. For the other part in this venue at the FACh, which was founded by Alberto Bachelet, the father of President Michelle Bachelet, has been a place where for forty years military and civilians have shared together. It is absurd to separate the environments now.
You are quite young for a shooter. When do you think you will reach the peak of your career?
Yes, this sport really has longevity, at 50 years old you can keep competing. Most people arrive at the peak between 30 and 35, so there’s still 10 years for me to reach my goals. The medals respond to processes. The success and triumphs go hand in hand with preparation, volume and experience.
How do you feel about Chile’s performance at the South American Games?
Chile had a great performance in the Odesur. We were fifth on the medal tally, and improved the performance in Medellín. Fifth place in South America is very good considering that we are competing with great sporting powers – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, who all count on great public and private investment. They all have populations much greater than Chile.
Another point to evaluate was the great reception. Nobody imagined this reception. It has debunked the myth that Chileans are not interested in other sports. I’m very proud of the Chileans, who have empowered themselves and gone to the stadiums to support their athletes.
Is Chile prepared to host events of a larger scale, such as the Pan American Games?
Absolutely. These games have been proof of that. I feel that this South American Games, within the inexperience, were very well organised, with a world-class opening ceremony, good logistics and the creation of marvelous venues which we needed.
How is the sporting culture in Chile. Has it changed?
I think it has been growing. If you go out at night in Santiago, you see many people going by bike, running. And this you notice more in an event like the Odesur. These were the visible face of the change, which sometimes the media chooses to ignore. I believe and feel that the Chileans are interested in what happens in other sports, that they like them and they want to see them.
What are your next sporting challenges?
In two weeks I’ll be participating in the first World Cup event in Tucson, Arizona. After that in May, there’s another competition in Kazakhstan and finally, the most important for me, the World Championships in Granada, Spain. The first three places there qualify for the next Olympic Games.
What is your opinion of the support for sport from sponsors and business?
The private businesses have a great debt to Chilean athletes. They only want a known face, and the rest, who have equal or better results, are ignored. It’s evident that the people want to consume other sports and they cry out for it, for example when the national broadcaster did not transmit all the sporting activity during the Odesur. The people want to see that.
The State does what it can, but we know there are other priorities, like health and education, which are not free in this country. It is the business world that has the debt to the athletes.
What would you like to say to the Chileans?
The party is not over. Everyone is invited to enjoy the first every Parasuramericanos. Accompany my colleagues, where Chile has great competitors, some at Paralympic level. Go and see them, support them and fill the stadiums. I also invite them to practice more sport and support Chilean sport.