China’s Cuiping Zhang catapulted herself back to the top of the rankings in 2015 after setting three individual and a team world record at the 2015 IPC Shooting World Cup Osijek, Croatia, in July.
The double Paralympic champion features at No. 31 in the IPC's top 50 moments of 2015
The future of the heavily decorated Paralympian looked to be in turmoil after failing to qualify for the finals in her three favourite pet events at the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany.
However, in a massive turnaround, the shooting world learned to never write off a true champion. Zhang returned to fitting form in Osijek, breaking an incredible four world records and qualifying for what will be her third Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Zhang set a new best score in the final of R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) with a scorching total of 210.1 to upset the reigning world champion and previous world record holder, Slovakia’s Veronika Vadovicova. Zhang than teamed up alongside Hong Xiao Bai and Yan Yaping, who are both major contenders for medals next year in Rio 2016, to break the R2 team world record by more than 20 points with a score of 1236.6.
The riflewoman was on fire in Osijek and continued her groundbreaking run of success with two more world records in both the qualifying (592.0) and final (458.2) phases of the R8 (women's 50m three positions SH1) event.
Zhang will be able to draw on her flawless World Cup performance and previous Games’ success as she takes aim at more Paralympic glory. Her training, event preparation and overall strategy has worked wonders on the big stage, but Zhang will have to account for a forceful line up of South Korean’s who have secured the maximum number of quota places per country for Rio 2016.
The 2015 season has seen six World Cups. At editions in Sydney, Australia, Osijek and Fort Benning, USA, athletes could secure quota places for their countries at Rio 2016. They also competed for World Cup medals in Antalya, Turkey; Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain and Szczecin, Poland.
A total of 144 athletes from 40 countries got their tickets to the next Paralympic Games this year.
Debutants Geraldo Rosenthal from host nation Brazil and 19-year-old Tim Jefferey from Great Britain will also be gunning for a spot on the podium in what will be the most hotly contested shooting competition in the history of the Paralympic Games.
The presence and quality of IPC shooting athletes has also continued its growth in 2015.
The number of National Paralympic Committees with licensed athletes has increased by 22 per cent since 2012, currently up to 67. The number of female athletes who will compete in Rio has also risen by 11 per cent.
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2015, visit the dedicated page on the IPC's website.