Al Ain 2022: Vadovicova’s golden campaign continues

Slovakian great clinch second title in Al Ain pipping Ukraine’s Shchetnik by 0.1 point, while Italy's Nanni equals world record en route his first World title 10 Nov 2022
Medallists strike a pose after the end of the R2- women's 10m air rifle SH2 in Al Ain.
Medallists strike a pose after the end of the R2- women's 10m air rifle SH1 at Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships..
ⒸAlaa Elarnaouty / Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination
By Priyanka Sharma l World Shooting Para Sport

Slovakia’s legend Veronika Vadovicova continued her dominance at the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships, emerging from a three-way battle to clinch her second title at the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club on Thursday (10 November).

Vadovicova, who has four gold medals from five Paralympic Games, held off a strong challenge from Ukraine’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic star Iryna Shchetnik and Korea’s Beijing 2008 champion Yunri Lee in the R2- women’s 10m air rifle SH1 for her fifth World Championships title. 

With two shots remaining, the Slovakian star trailed by a meagre 0.1 point to the leader Shchetnik before she held her nerves to shoot 10.4 and 10.5 in the final series. The Ukrainian managed two 10.1s to settled for the silver with 247.9 points while Vadovicova ended on 248.5 points.

Before that, it was a three-way battle with Lee too staying in the title contention and was even tied with Shchetnik in the last third series. She settled for the bronze finishing with 227.2, 0.5 points short of making it to the final series. 

“It was a very difficult final. Now I am relaxed,” admitted Vadovicova after winning an intense final.

“I am happy with yet another good show here (after world record winning show in R3) with my long-time coach. In the qualification, my hands were very cold due to the cold conditions. But I felt good shooting in the finals.”

Asked about her Paris 2024 Paralympic expectation, “Everything is possible. I will try my best.”

Among others, India’s Paralympic champion Avani Lekhara finished a disappointing sixth place with 163.8 points one place ahead of Germany’s Natascha Hiltrop, the Tokyo 2020 winner in R3.

Joy for Italy 

The highlight of the day was the world record equalling score of 41 points achieved by Italy’s Gabriele Nanni who also won his first individual World title in PT3 - mixed trap standing SG-U final. Nanni equalled the score of Spaniard Adrian Becker Castillo who achieved it at Chateauroux 2022 in June.

Becker Castillo ended second in Al Ain with 38 points followed by Nanni’s compatriot and two-time World champion Francesco Nespeca (30).

There was more joy for Italy with their para trap star Oreste Lai defending his PT1 - mixed trap seated SG-S from Sydney 2019 in style. 

Lai ended with 39 points, while Iran’s Abdolreza Tavasolikhah and Great Britain’s Keith White settled with 32 and 26 points for the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

End on a high

In the other trap event, Finland's Vesa Jarvinen displayed a game of concentration and courage to defeat Slovakia's Filip Marinov by just 1 point in the PT2 - mixed trap standing SG-L finals. It was Jarvinen’s second World title after his win at Lonato 2018.

Italy’s Saverio Cuciti with 32 points ended in third place. 

“It was a tight final and I was trying to keep my eye on the next clay and not thinking about what’s ahead and what’s in the past. It worked out well. 

“It’s nice range here but the weather is very hot here,” said the Finnish shooter who was shooting for the first time at the Al Ain Equestrian and Shooting Club.  

“I have been in most of the finals but haven’t reached the podium. So, it feels amazing to end the year on a high.”

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