Ene of her favorite places is under a fortress from the Staufer period. Doreen Vennekamp raves about the landscape around Ronneburg in the Main-Kinzig district: “It’s something really special to spend time in the woods and fields,” she says. The Hessian sports shooter enjoys quiet walks in the Wetterau “not only to process competitions that didn’t go so well, but also successes”.
They are getting more and more numerous. She achieved her greatest success in mid-September in Breslau. Vennekamp became European champion with the sport pistol and says confidently: “I knew that I was in good shape and in Poland I could completely rely on what I had worked for.” The 27-year-old used her most obvious strength. “Doreen is a total competitive type,” says Bärbel Georgi, the former national coach who accompanied her for a long time. “The training is actually always a little bit worse.” The sports soldier still has potential for improvement, which Georgi gave her when she retired at the beginning of the year: “Especially as far as athletics are concerned.” Doreen Vennekamp has been working more in the weight room since then .
One of only 20 German professionals
She is German Champion 2021 and 2022. At the past World Championships and Olympic Games, she was the strongest German. With bronze at the 2018 World Championships in Changwon (South Korea) and seventh place in the Olympic final, the Hessian even outperformed Monika Karsch, the two-time European champion and silver medalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
For the World Championships in Cairo, which are currently taking place in the Egyptian capital until October 25, Vennekamp’s goal is “the same as before the European Championships”. To finish in the top eight first and then “survive the semifinals. It’s tough, you shouldn’t weaken at all.”
Her former trainer Georgi emphasizes the “mental strength” that may also be trained through her hobby as a hunter. Vennekamp’s father leases the area in Ronneburg, the sportswoman is his deputy. She often walks very cautiously under the castle without a weapon, because a hunting lease also means taking care of the forest animals: feeding, observation, repair work.
Doreen Vennekamp moved to Thuringia two years ago, near the shooting sports center in Suhl, also because the conditions for training with the sport pistol are not ideal in her home club SV Hubertus Hüttengesäß. Christian Freckmann is usually at her side there, her friend and also a national squad shooter. “We came together during the Corona period,” he says. Together they are among the almost twenty athletes in Germany who are considered professionals in pistol shooting – thanks to the salary from the Bundeswehr and police.
They often commute between Thuringia and Hesse, train in Wiesbaden at the headquarters of the German Shooting Association, where rapid-fire national coach Detlef Glenz is available as an important advisor. She is “a great buddy,” says Glenz about Doreen Vennekamp, who was twice second at World Cups this year in Rio and in 2018 in Guadalajara in Mexico. “I always say: blood group zero. It is compatible with all. She also copes well with every situation, never looking for an excuse if the result isn’t right.”
The competitions with the sport pistol are divided into the precision and the duel mode, in which the target is much larger but can be hit in three seconds. She likes the duel more, and in the qualifying round she has often already reached 299 out of a possible 300 rings, also in Tokyo 2021. “I’m still waiting for 300 out of 300 and I know that I have the level,” says Doreen Vennekamp, who is also involved hits in the ten in the center can be dissatisfied: “You can always find little things that you can improve and that you can tweak.”
Air pistol not their best discipline
This is especially true for shooting with the air pistol, with which she also qualified for the World Championships in Cairo, but did not get past the qualification as 38th. It’s not their prime discipline. Nevertheless, she won the team title in the Bundesliga in February – together with her boyfriend Freckmann and the Waldburg rifle club from Baden-Württemberg.
Doreen Vennekamp will start a total of five times at the World Championships, including team competitions, after which she plans further inspection rounds in the Hessian hunting ground with the option of letting her thoughts run free on the raised hide.