The Belgrade 2018 World Shooting Para Sport European 10m Championships ended in style with two world records on the final day of competition in Serbia.
The first was broken by the prodigious Ukrainian Iryna Shchetnik in the R2 (air rifle standing women SH1). The 19-year-old shooter beat Paralympic champion Veronika Vadovicova to gold and set a new mark in the event: 249.6 points, 0.7 more than the former record set by Chinese Xiaohong Bai at the World Championships, in Cheongju, South Korea, in May.
Turkey’s Cagla Ataka grabbed the bronze.
It is Shchetnik’s second gold this year following a win in the R2 at the Al Ain World Cup, in March. At the World Championships in May, in Cheongju, she took bronze in the same event.
“I am very excited and happy. I was close to the gold at the World Championships, but this time I got it. I trained harder with my coaches for the past months and everything was worthy. I has been a very emotional year and I want to continue with the hard work”, said the young shooter, whose two long pigtails have become her trademark.
“It will be my talisman for Tokyo 2020. I guess if I win a medal at the Paralympic Games, everybody from the team will use the pigtail”, she joked.
The other world record of the day was set by home favourite Dragan Ristic. The Serbian sent the local fans wild after claiming the R5 (air rifle prone mixed SH2) title to record the hosts’ only individual gold of the Euros.
His score of 255.8 points was just 0.1 points more than the previous world record, set by Italian Andrea Liverani at the Chateauroux World Cup in September.
“I felt way more pressure because I was competing at home. But now it feels fantastic to be champion in Serbia,” said Ristic.
“This year I was crowned world champion and now European champion in the R5. I am 40 years old, but that just gives me more motivation to fight for a medal in Tokyo 2020.”
Hakan Cevik, from Turkey, took the silver medal and two-time Paralympic champion Vasyl Kovalchuk of Ukraine claimed his second bronze of the competition.
The P2 (air pistol women SH1) was won by Hungary’s Krisztina David, with a double celebration for Turkey as they took silver and bronze through Aysegul Pehlivanlar and Aysel Ozgan.
In the R5 team event, Serbia finished first, followed by Ukraine and France.
Shchetnik’s gold on Thursday (6 December) was one of 13 medals that helped Ukraine top the medal table at the Championships. The hosts finished the competition in second, ahead of France in third.
The European 10m Championships were contested by 122 athletes from 27 countries. All results are available on World Shooting Para Sport’s website.