BEIRUT: Using her passion as a weapon and her confidence as a bullet, Ray Bassil is firing her way in a “male-dominated sports,” aiming at her ultimate target: an Olympic Medal.
This journey stands on a solid foundation of experience that was built at a young age.
Eight-year-old Bassil used to tag along with her father to the shooting range; he was a shooter at the Lebanese National Federation.
Like father like daughter, Bassil developed a passion for shooting which was a turning point in her life.
She believes this talent is hereditary. Acting as a role model, her father helped shape Bassil's path.Bassil noted what one learns from trapshooting, other than pulling a trigger.
“Shooting increased my self-confidence. It taught me to have targets in life and push myself beyond my limits. In the range, just like in life, it’s never about your surroundings, it’s about your internal factors. You’re challenging yourself to become better so in the end, it’s you versus you,” she told Annahar.
Other than her father’s mentoring, Bassil gained experience by traveling the world, learning from several coaches and “being curious.” She made sure to ask as many questions as she could to enrich her knowledge and enhance her technique. She now mainly visits Italy to shop for her guns and to train every month.
Bassil’s training doesn’t only include shooting; her fitness is a priority too. She practices several kinds of activities such as hiking, yoga, hunting, and working out, which all improve the shooting process, as she said.
“When I’m in the shooting zone, I practice breathing and controlling my adrenaline rush. Yoga helps me visualize myself outside the scene. Hunting, on the other hand, is an escape and a way to connect with nature,” she said.
Bassil has scored major achievements in the shooting field including: the bronze medal at the Junior ISSF World Championship in 2007, the gold medal at the Arab Shooting Championship in 2015, the gold medal at the ISSF World Cup in 2016 and many others.
She also represented Lebanon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Bassil was the first woman to win three consecutive World Cup Championship medals. Yet, as all roads to success, hers was built by overcoming obstacles.
She recounts the challenges she faced on that road.
“In Lebanon, sports is not supported by the government, but that that wasn’t my main problem. Shooting is considered a manly occupation, so I knew I was going to face criticism. I kept my eyes on the target, proving that I can combine my feminine side and my shooting skills together. Now, I’m glad to know that in the next Olympic games the same rules will apply to both genders in trapshooting, eliminating the discrimination,” she said.
Apart from the shooting field, Bassil graduated from NDU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food & Beverage Management. She manages her own restaurant “Lord of the Wings,” which is located in Kaslik. Additionally, she is the Brand Ambassador of the UNDP in Lebanon. She also plans to start her own academy to teach the new generation the right use of the gun.
Still, her ultimate goal is winning the Olympics.
“In every competition, I’ve always wanted to show other countries the beautiful side of Lebanon. Every time I win, I feel pride and joy at the sight of the Lebanese flag rising,” she told Annahar.
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