India's Avani Lekhara will aim to continue her dominance as the World Shooting Para Sport season returns to South Korea for the first time since the 2018 World Championships, with the Changwon 2022 World Cup starting on Thursday (18 August).
Lekhara, who will return to action after an incredible show at the Chateauroux 2022 in France in June - when she took the gold with a world record in R2 - women's 10m air rifle final -, will be joined by pistol shooters Singhraj and Rahul Jakhar in the 14-member Indian team.
“It is an important event for the entire team. We have done a lot of hard work and eager to do well yet again. We are waiting for the action to begin,” said Singhraj, who claimed twin gold medals to help Team India finish on top of the medals table at the Munich 2022 World Cup last month.
Hosts with ambitious target
For hosts South Korea, the home challenge will be spearheaded by Tokyo 2020 Paralympic silver medallist Jinho Park, who will also be joined by Shim Youngjip in the R7 - men's 50m rifle 3 positions SH1 event.
The entire 54-member Korean team were excited to compete at a World Cup at home, and Korean national team coach Gum Suk Yun said they aim to top the medals table.
“We are very excited to compete here (which is the first international competition this season) in Korea, as it was never easy to travel abroad due to COVID-19.
“Athletes and coaching staff are all looking forward to the 2022 World Cup series in Changwon, as we have trained hard. The 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships in UAE has made us work harder, and we are expecting to top the medal table in Changwon by sweeping more than half its total golds," Gum Suk said.
While India and Korea are among the strongest teams arriving here at the famous Changwon International Shooting Range, teams like Bhutan, Mongolia and New Zealand will be out to get some experience.
Javanmardi among top names
In pistol events, Iran’s top shooter Sareh Javanmardi would be aiming to return to winning ways.
The three-time Paralympic champion will be the title favourite in P2 - women's 10m air pistol SH1 which will also have some young names contesting like Rubina Francis and Sumedha Pathak from India.
As many as 146 players from 18 nations will be in action in the World Cup that will run until 24 August.
Four finals will be contested on Day One starting with R1 - men's 10m air rifle standing SH1, R2 - women's 10m air rifle standing SH1, R4 - mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2 and P3 - mixed 25m pistol SH1.
Changwon 2022 is the first World Cup in the four-year hosting agreement that will see the Korean city as part of the World Shooting Para Sport season through to 2025. Live results from the event are available here.