Al Ain 2022: Kovalchuk’s amazing run continues

Paralympic star pairs up with Telizhenko to propel Ukraine to R11 mixed team gold and second place in medals standings while hosts UAE take silver  16 Nov 2022
Ukraine's Vasyl Kovalchuk and Anastasiia Telizhenko pose with their gold medals at Al Ain 2022.
Ukraine's Vasyl Kovalchuk and Anastasiia Telizhenko pose with their gold medals at Al Ain 2022.
ⒸAlaa Elarnaouty / Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination
By Priyanka Sharma l For World Shooting Para Sport

Two days, two world championship titles! 

Paralympic star Vasyl Kovalchuk seemed to have developed a special liking for the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club as he came back to clinch his second title at the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport World Championships on Wednesday (16 November).

Confident and focused as always, Kovalchuk, who won the R5 - mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2 gold two days back, led the Ukraine team, comprising Anastasiia Telizhenko, to the title of the R11 - 10m air rifle standing mixed team SH2 with a dominating show.

The Ukrainians defeated the hosts’ United Arab Emirates’ Ayesha Almehairi and Saeed Alblooshi 16-8 in the gold medal match, the only final scheduled on the penultimate day of the championships.

Opening with a 2-0, Kovalchuk and Telizhenko extended their lead to 6-2 before the UAE team tried hard to catch up and in a couple of times, they did, equalling the scores only to share one point each by both the teams. 

There was also a two points penalty for Ukraine in series 10, but that couldn’t stop their surge as they led 13-7 before wrapping it up 16-8.

Interesting event

“It was an interesting event. This is the first time I participated in R11 event, and I am very happy and proud to win the gold medal. Big thank you to all the Ukraine coaches and all who supported us. 

“Also thank you to the Ukrainian people for their support that helped us to compete in this World Championships. This was an important championship for the entire team,” said the 49-year-old Kovalchuk, who had the highest qualification score of 316.3 to steer Ukraine (628.2) to the gold medal match.

Meanwhile, silver medallist Almehairi was overwhelmed to win her first medal at a World Championships.

Proud Moment

“I am very proud to win a medal in this big championship. This is a big confidence booster for me and the entire team.”

In the bronze medal play-off, Italy’s Livia Cecagallina and Roberto Lazzaro overcame a fighting team from UAE comprising Ayesha Alshamsi and Abdulla Alahbabi winning it 16-10. 

After Wednesday’s gold medal show, Ukraine jumped to second place from its sixth position with 12 medals including three gold, while South Korea continued to be top the medals table with six gold from 18 medals. 

Hosts UAE were at tied eighth place with Thailand with one gold from their three medals. 

As many as 271 athletes from 54 nations are competing in 27 medal events at the eight edition of the World Championships in Al Ain. 

The World Championships will run until November 17 with live action on World Shooting Para Sport Facebook page. Live results will be available here.