World Shooting Para Sport Championships
12-18 October

Sydney 2019: Top moments from the World Championships

Six things we will remember about the shooting Para sport Worlds 23 Oct 2019
Two Italian shotgun athletes have arms around each other laughing
Alessandro Spagnoliwon the PT2 (mixed trap standing SG-L) title ahead of teammates Saverio Cuciti and Raffaele Talamo
ⒸNarelle Spangher | Sydney 2019
By Ros Dumlao | World Shooting Para Sport

The 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships in Sydney, Australia, were filled with thrilling finals, promising fresh talents, new medal events and so much more.
As the week-long competition wrapped up on 18 October, let us look back at what specifically made Sydney 2019 memorable.

Last shots

Competition was tight, and one bad shot proved to be a complete game changer. This was seen in at least five events, where the gold medal winner was decided on the final shot. 

Serbia’s Dragan Ristic won the R9 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH2) by 0.1 points over Ukraine’s Vitalii Plakushchyi. That victory made up for Ristic’s result in the R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2), which he lost by the same margin to South Korea’s Jiseok Lee. 

Anton Zappelli was the host’s hopes for gold. Despite shooting brilliantly in the first four shot series, he gave up his lead with a 10.1 shot and lost out on the gold to Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon by 0.3 in the R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1).

Iran’s Sareh Javanmardi and Ukraine’s Iryna Liakhu were tied at 215.0 in P2 (women’s 10m air pistol SH1). The Paralympic and 2018 world champion Javanmardi uncharacteristically shot 9.6 and 9.0 to hand over her crown to Liakhu.

The brand new R10 (mixed team 10m air rifle standing SH1) was also a thriller. Slovakia led by 0.3. But Ukraine outscored them in the final series to win by a world record 493.8.

Two Serbian men pose together after winning
Dragan Ristic


Top nations

Ukraine made a complete turnaround since last year’s Worlds in Cheongju, South Korea, where they finished in seventh on the medals standing with no individual golds. In Sydney, the nation topped the tables with 18 (five individual titles). Pistol athletes Oleksii Denysiuk and Iryna Liakhu took a pair of golds each. Vitalii Plakushchyi represented Ukraine in the rifle discipline, winning the R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2).

China again finished second in the standings, with two individual titles courtesy of Dong Chao and Tian Fugang – both first-time world champions. 


The unexpected result came on the very last day, in the very last event. 

The Czech Republic’s Tomas Pesek became the new P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1) champion. It was a surprise to find him among the last two remaining. He had only competed at his first World Shooting Para Sport event last April at the Grand Prix in Szczecin, Poland, and finished as the silver medalists at the 2018 European Championships. But it was unclear how he would measure up with the likes of China’s Yang Chao and Huang Xing; India’s Manish Narwal, and Ukraine’s Oleksii Denysiuk. 


Dethroning the queens

Slovakia’s Veronika Vadovicova and Iran’s Sareh Javanmardi met tough matches. 

Vadovicova failed to defend her two titles from 2018 – R8 (women’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1) and R3 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH1). In fact, she did not medal in either, showing the strong competition in both events. Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon had a brilliant Worlds, winning the R3 as one of his two titles. Sweden’s Anna Normann has been the new woman on fire in the R8. But Vadovicova did take the title in the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1), which she calls her strongest event. 

Javanmardi failed to reach the podium in the P4 (mixed 50m pistol SH1) and crumbled in the last shot series of the P2 (women’s 10m air pistol SH1). Both were won by Ukrainians. It will be interesting to see how she bounces back before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. 

Two female shooters hugging
Veronika Vadovicova and Iryna Shchetnik



Sydney 2019 marked the historic debuts of vision impaired shooting, Para trap (first Worlds combined with rifle and pistol disciplines) and mixed team events. 

Poland’s Barbara Moskal and Finland’s Timo Nystrom became the first VI world champions in standing and prone, respectively. 

Italy swept all three titles in the shotgun discipline – Oreste Lai (PT1), Alessandro Spagnoli (PT2) and Francesco Nespeca (PT3). 

Three mixed team events saw countries compete as pairs, shooting alternately for combined scores. Ukraine won the P6 and R10, while Italy rejoiced in the R11.


Not all about the gold

Apart from world titles, Sydney 2019 was huge for athletes looking to make their Paralympic dreams come true with 128 quota slots up for grabs for Tokyo 2020.

Kamran Zeynalov and Yelena Taranova’s performances were enough to secure Azerbaijan two slots. 

Indonesia’s Hanik Puji Hastuti and Bolo Triyanto can be thanked for helping their nation send a pair of athletes to the 2020 Paralympics. 

For these countries, heading to the Games is big step forward.

More information on Sydney 2019 is available on the event website.