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Chetcuti: I gave it my best shot!

Nerves get the better of Chetcuti and family

Sitting in a trophy-lined living room, the girlfriend of shooter William Chetcuti broke the tense silence with a soft, disappointed sigh when the sports commentator announced he had missed the fifth shot in the last round.

“That’s it. He didn’t make the finals,” Stephanie Vella said as she rested her head in her hands.

“He worked so hard, he must be feeling terrible,” she added, putting herself in the shoes of her husband-to-be.

The 27-year-old double trap shooter, who won the World Cup competition in Beijing last year, had hoped to make it into the final of the London Olympics. But he did not make it into the top six, ranking ninth out of 24 shooters.

Speaking in an interview aired on TVM 2, minutes after putting down his gun, Mr Chetcuti echoed the words of his fiancé, saying he was disappointed because he knew he could do better.

“I trained so hard over these years … I did my best,” he said before breaking down and walking away from the camera.

Back in his Manikata home, Mr Chetcuti’s parents – Gużeppi and Carmen – nodded in agreement and smiled endearingly at their emotional son on the television screen.

His parents, his nephew Derek and Ms Vella ’s father, Charles, met up at his house to support him. His dog Maya also wagged her tail in support. The family’s phone did not stop ringing as friends and relatives called to encourage them.

Although the competition was not aired on television, there was a live commentary accompanied by archived images.

His father bounced between the television and the computer where he was monitoring the updated scores. Later on in the morning Ms Vella joined them, having managed to close her hair salon early.

“I’m so nervous, I don’t think I’ll be this nervous for our wedding in December,” she said. “Yesterday I spoke to him and he said he had butterflies in his stomach. This morning he told me: ‘They’re not butterflies, they’re eagles’,” she smiled, adding that people did not realise what hard work went on behind the scenes.

For the past few years Mr Chetcuti jogged every day to be physically fit, apart from training at the shooting range, she said.

As they waited between one competition round and another, his family spoke about the pressure he was under to make Malta proud. Apart from that he was shooting on a windy day.

Each time it was Mr Chetcuti’s turn to shoot, they stopped their chit chat and listened carefully to the commentary.

The game started off badly, with Mr Chetcuti missing seven shots. But hopes were still high at that point. Tension increased by the second round when he hit 47 out of 50, raising hopes that he might qualify for the finals.

Meanwhile, between rounds, Mr Chetcuti called his girlfriend who encouraged him to keep calm and do his best.

As they waited for the last round, the family prayed he would start on the right foot. Missing a shot at that stage could destroy his morale.

Nerves soared. It was raining and Mr Chetcuti missed the first two shots – something the family had been dreading. He went on to miss five in all ... and the rest is history.

Some time after the disappointing result he phoned his girlfriend again. “Don’t worry. You did your best. Go and rest now,” she told him.

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