Cecilia Lindberg is European Champion in Production Optics Lady: "Incredibly fun when you get rewarded for hard work"

When the gunpowder smoke had settled over the 2023 edition of the IPSC European Handgun Championship in Greece, the pistol shooter, police and not least the NORMA ambassador Cecilia Lindberg could step to the top of the podium as the newly crowned European Champion in Production Optics Lady.

Cecilia Lindberg is European Champion in Production Optics Lady

When the gunpowder smoke had settled over the 2023 edition of the IPSC European Handgun Championship in Greece, the pistol shooter, police and not least the NORMA ambassador Cecilia Lindberg could step to the top of the podium as the newly crowned European Champion in Production Optics Lady.

- It means a lot to me. I have trained and competed a lot around Europe during the past season before this championship, says a happy gold medalist.

Ever since she switched to Production Optics at the beginning of last year, the European Championship in Greece has been one of her long-term goals. Before the competition, she even took a leave of absence from the police force in order to maximize her preparations.

- I then spent the time training more, "zoning in" mentally and other preparations. It's incredibly fun when you get a reward for all the hard work you've put in over a long period of time, says Cecilia.

The preparations paid off and Cecilia is convinced that this is thanks to the hard work she put in.

- Yes I think so. I had prepared very carefully in many ways. I had a clear plan regarding training, competitions, physical training and mental training and I have followed this according to plan for a long time, she says.

Cecilia also believes that her careful preparations regarding equipment have played a big role.

- It plays a role because in this way I increased the conditions for optimal functioning. Then, of course, you have to have that little, little flow as well that makes the trip fun even if the pressure is always there, says Cecilia, who admits to feeling a great deal of relief.

- The excitement always increases before and during the major championships when competing for titles.

Lessons from Pattaya

The victory perhaps tastes even better because last year offered a setback when Cecilia participated in the IPSC Handgun World Shoot XIX in Pattaya in Thailand. Just over 1,300 competitors from 73 countries took on 30 tough courses. The divisions consisted of Open, Production Optics, Production, Standard, Revolver and Classic and over six days Cecilia tackled the challenging courses. But the body would not obey. Cecilia felt weak and had difficulty thinking clearly. On the first course, she was so nervous that her whole body was shaking, which surprised her.

- The body felt bad and I refused to accept it but continued to demand from it that it should perform as usual. I also continued to choose offensive solutions that I can normally handle.

She felt stiff and unfocused – and that combined with a body without power was completely the wrong approach.

- If I had only accepted that my conditions there and then were different, I think I would have been able to get more out of the capacity I had then. In this way, the outcome had not been optimal, but considerably much better than what it was.

Important reality check

After match day 3, Cecilia became even worse physically and realized that she would have to break the match if she did not calm down and take better care of her body.

- I think now in retrospect that the "reality check", that I might not be able to finish the match, made me realize that I had to start cooperating with my body and listening to it instead of working against it.

- I then began to feel an acceptance for the body during match days 4 and 5. This led to me shooting better and thus was able to take a bronze. After that match, I have focused mentally on the fact that anything can happen before and during a match. To be more dynamic also in my "mindset", explains Cecilia.

Cecilia tells us that in practical terms it means getting to know your body, "mind" and your stressors even better.

- My compass that I use is that I constantly ask myself questions such as; how does your body and mind feel now? Where am I now mentally and physically? says Cecilia, who constantly reads her body during a match.

- At each station I do a new check-in. How am I supposed to shoot this now? It helps me try to make the most correct choices as I go along. 

In the end, she managed to win the bronze medal in the Lady Category. Cecilia says that she is generally satisfied with her performance based on the circumstances. When we meet the newly crowned EC champion, she says that the mental pain still remains from Pattaya, but that she has since worked on distinguishing what needs to be developed in her - and what is only sadness for having failed.

- Among other things, I came to the conclusion that if I had had the ability to deal with the disease in a different way, purely mentally, the outcome might have been different.

New focus

During the EC, Cecilia had a predetermined mental plan for how she would shoot the match. It meant that she only focused on her own class in Lady.

- I completely forgot about the Overall list. The only focus I had was: What is required of me to win? Can I deliver what is required? How do I need to shoot?

- I made my assessment based on previous competition results and my own ability if I went to a certain percentage of my capacity. I couldn't possibly know if this decision was correct in advance but I followed the score as it went to verify if I was at the right level.

It all worked generally according to plan during most of the stations.

- Then of course there were a couple that went worse than desired and some that went better than planned.

On the ones that went better than planned, I felt that I was in shape then and there to be able to get a little more out of my capacity without taking too many risks.

Win already in the debut

When Cecilia was 16, an after-school leader challenged her and a few others to take part in a shooting competition. She accepted the challenge and a little while later Cecilia was able to go to the cafeteria to pick up a chocolate ball and a Coca-Cola. She had just won her first shooting competition.

- After that I was hooked. I also shot some shotguns and hunting rifles when I started studying for my hunting license. However, due to my greater interest in horses at the time, I did not develop my shooting further.

Cecilia has worked as a police officer since 2011 and it was during that time as an aspirant that she fired a gun for the first time. She was instantly hooked and since then pistol shooting has been a big part of her life.

- There was no turning back! I started training in the police shooting club as soon as I started my employment, she says.

Now she has trained and competed in dynamic shooting for more than ten years.

- Until 2021 I competed in Production Lady, but I switched to Production Optics Lady in 2022. This is something I'm glad I did because chasing the red dot is amazing! says Cecilia enthusiastically.

Cecilia says that as a contribution to, and development of, the sport, she also holds courses in dynamic shooting.

- The advanced courses are mainly aimed at women because I want to encourage and spread the sport among women.

What do you think makes you a good shooter?

- My stubbornness. That I don't give up and constantly try to develop. Then I also think that shooting a gun is genuinely fun. For me, it's a kind of relaxation to be able to stand alone on the range and just shoot with my guns. I'm an odd bird, I suppose, says Cecilia and laughs.

We once again say a big congratulations to Cecilia!