Munich, Germany will welcome the second stop of the 2022 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup season.
In a very special venue, legacy of the Munich 1972 Olympic Games, 205 athletes from 34 countries will compete in the first time the city holds a major international shooting Para sport event from 14 to 19 July (Thursday to Tuesday).
But for Paralympic champion Natascha Hiltrop, it will be a familiar range.
“We shoot our national championships every year at this venue. Maybe other will feel differently.”
At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Hiltrop became the first German to claim gold in the sport in 17 years.
“It was a nice feeling! When I won the medal, at the first moment, I was stressed. I don’t really like to stand in the light, but that’s something inevitable when you won the gold”.
With her two medals – she also took one silver medal – she was chosen as Germany’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony in Japan.
But winning a medal without the support of the public was something strange for her.
“When you reach the final and there’s people cheering on you, that’s a nice feeling and something that was missing [during the pandemic]”, she explained.
At Munich, the public is back and will have the possibility to see some of best shooters in action, four months before Al Ain 2022 World Championships.
Those Worlds are also a goal for the German athlete, even if she does not put pressure on herself.
“I participate and I try to do my best”, Hiltrop added. “The other people are all excellent shooters, so I try to reach the final and then, we’ll see what follows next”.
The 29-year-old German shooter took the sport when she was 12 years old.
“It was a coincidence [how] I started shooting. A friend of my brother invited him to try out and I went with him,” she explained.
Some years later, Hiltrop made a test with the national team. “Obviously, I made my job well because they wanted to keep me.”
Being part of an inclusive sport, both in terms of types of impairments but also in gender parity – most of the events are mixed –, the German hopes her gold in Japan and the World Cup in Munich will make people more interested in shooting.
“Maybe some people will pick up themselves”, she said. “Whatever disability you have, there’s always a chance you can shoot”.
Shooting stars make return to Germany
First major event in Germany since the Suhl 2014 World Championships, the World Cup will see some of the world’s best in contention.
Hiltrop will face a strong challenge from other two top female athletes she familiar to compete against in rifle’s events. One of them is Slovakian superstar and three-time Paralympic champion Veronika Vadovicova. The other, Ukraine’s young star Iryna Schetnik.
The 22-year-old grabbed two bronze medals in four events at Tokyo 2020, and she is the current world champion in the R10 – mixed team 10m air rifle standing SH1.
In the pistol events, Krisztina David will be one to follow. The Hungarian grabbed bronze at Tokyo 2020 in the P2 – women’s 10 m air pistol SH1. In addition to this event, she is set to compete in other two.
India will also travel to Germany with some of their best athletes. During lockdown, Singhraj built a shooting range in his own place and he later said it helped him becoming a two-time medallist at Tokyo 2020, with one silver and one bronze.
The Indian shooter will be competing in three events in Munich. In the P1 – men’s 10m air pistol SH1 and the P4 – mixed 50m pistol SH1 he will be facing compatriot Manish Narwal.
Narwal became the first male Indian shooter to grab shooting gold for his country at his first appearance in the Paralympic Games last year. In the absence of teammate and Paralympic champion Avani Lekhara, the 20-year-old will be the main start in the Indian team.
For UAE’s Abdulla Sultan Alaryani, the World Cup will represent an important part of his preparation for the World Championships on home soil in Al Ain in November. After his appearance at the Chateauroux World Cup in France, the Paralympic champion in the R7 – men’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1 will be competing in four events.
Three-time Paralympic silver medallist in the R4 – mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2, Slovenia’s Francek Gorazd Tirsek is another one to watch as he will be involved in three events in Bavaria.
Para trap and VI stars
Munich is also welcoming Para trap and vision impaired (VI) shooting events.
In the absence of the Polish star Barbara Moskal, Claudia Kunz-Inderkummen is one of the favourites in Vi events The Swiss has had a good season so far and finished fourth in the VI – 10m Air Rifle Prone at the recent Chateauroux World Cup.
In the Para trap competition, Alessandro Spagnoli, world champion in the PT2 – mixed trap at the Sydney 2019 World Championships, will be keen to take another gold medal to Italy.
The Munich 2022 World Cup will be streamed live on World Shooting Para Sport Facebook page.
Live results will be available here.
You can follow the action, results and behind the scenes on World Shooting Para Sport Social media channels on Twitter and Instagram.