Artistic Roner splitting time between pizza oven and podiums

Elisa Roner shoots in Antalya, Türkiye.

The small Italian town of Rovereto will be overflowing with excitement this week.

Local archer Elisa Roner, who’s already proven her 18-metre mettle in 2023 by winning the Indoor Archery World Series Finals, now has her first medal on the outdoor circuit, too. She finished third in Antalya last week.

“Everybody knows everyone in that little town. So everybody asks me how it was, how I shot or if I won. And also, my grandfather always tells everybody what I achieved,” said Elisa.

This time, her grandfather won't need to spread the news of her stunning performance in Antalya.

“They will have all watched me on Saturday,” she said.

The 21-year-old’s path to the arena was anything but orthodox. She seeded 18th before making her way through matchplay and into a quarterfinal against the higher-seeded Sophie Dodemont. She was down and out with three arrows to shoot, but Dodemont dropped three nines and suddenly, Elisa was in front – and through.

Cue tears.

It was one of those days on which everything came together.

“I had so much pressure on myself during the qualification round, but not in the individual matches,” said Roner, who confessed she feels more comfortable about shooting indoors, rather than on the outdoor tour.

“I was so happy to be in the final four because I didn’t imagine I could go there,” she added.

“I just want to show myself I can do what I want to do.”

Elisa is an intelligent young woman. She speaks about five languages. Her mother tongue is Italian, but she learned German and English as her hometown is close to Austria.

“I speak a little bit of Spanish, too, and at University, I started studying Russian,” she added. “I can read what's written, but don't understand everything.”

“When I was younger, I used to watch Korean dramas and started to learn Korean.”

But her dedication to the sport has resulted in sacrifice.

“I decided to quit University and go to work because I wanted to go to Las Vegas, Nimes, so I needed to have money,” she explained. “I wanted to try everything and decided to stay in archery. That's my choice.”

Roner is a pizzaiola. (She makes pizza.)

“They’re very kind to me. They let me pretty much do everything, but sometimes I decide to stay for the weekend because they’re so kind. It’s give and take.”

It’s probably worth stopping by the restaurant if you’re ever in Rovereto.

“Sometimes at work, I tell my colleague, ‘let’s make a pizza in the shape of a frog or fish’. I think I'm pretty creative!”

Often one of the more recognisable archers on the shooting line, Elisa often changes her rather outgoing hairstyles. Dyed, or unconventionally cut, the hair has become something of a trademark. Nothing special in Antalya, though.

"I wanted to give my hair a break. I can’t always dye it. But I will change the colour. I like purple,” she said. “I have kind of an artistic soul. I think my mind is more artistic than the things I do.”

Creative, artistic, free-flowing, against the grain? It applies to her archery, too.

“In fact, my set-up is very crazy,” she admitted. “My boyfriend tunes my bows and he never understands me at all. He says, ‘there are no rules with you’.”

So, perhaps Elisa is not walking the typical path – the precise, exacting route to compound excellence.

But with two major podiums in the first half of 2023, her approach is clearly working. She’s up to 11th in the Sanlida World Archery Rankings.

“I like to do things for myself. Not to have a better job, better relationships, better whatever. I don’t care. I do everything for myself,” said Elisa. “Some people close to me say I’m ruthless. I can be crazy, but I’m really honest.”

Archery is, after all, an individual sport. It fits.

“I like to do things for myself, so I like to compete individually,” she says. “I also like team events to share winning or losing with other teammates.”

“But most of all, I like to compete by myself.”

And win, too.