Cheongju 2018: Five things learned

The key takeaways from this year’s World Championships 12 May 2018
a male Para shooter lines up a shot

Abdulla Sultan Alaryani snatched the R6 world title in dramatic fashion at Cheongju 2018

ⒸCheongju 2018

The 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships saw eight days of competition in Cheongju, South Korea.

Here is a look back at the major takeaways from the event, that was held from 4-11 May.

The newcomers

Slovakia’s Kristina Funkova was the biggest surprise in Cheongju.

The 16-year-old has only been competing in the sport for two years and had never reached a podium at a World Shooting Para Sport event. Even her qualification score in the R9 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH2) was modest. But she still reached the final, maintained the lead and stunned the field, taking gold with a world record score.

Ukraine’s Iryna Shchetnik was another young talent who impressed with bronze in the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) Her talent was known compared to Funkova’s after her results from the World Cup in March in Al Ain, UAE.

Sweden’s Anna Normann is not a teenager, but the former able-bodied shooter left with double silver and proved she is also a strong medal contender for future competitions.

Consistency key to greatness

The familiar faces from previous Paralympic and World Championships did not disappoint. Slovakia’s rifle specialist Veronika Vadovicova and Iran’s pistol queen Sareh Javanmardi were double gold medallists from Rio 2016, and they left Cheongju as double world champions.

Vadovicova won gold in the R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1) and R8 (women’s 50m rifle three positions SH1); as well as silver in the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1). Javanmardi won the P2 (women’s 10m air pistol SH1) and P3 (mixed 25m pistol SH1).

UAE’s Abdulla Sultan Alaryani has been a consistent podium finisher, but Cheongju 2018 was the competition where he showed he is the top shooter in his events: the R7 (men’s 50m rifle three positions SH1) and R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1).

Strongest nations

China, Ukraine and South Korea all showed the strength of the sport in their respective nations.

China feature two strong pistol shooters in Chao Yang and Xing Huang, who owned two of China’s three gold medals. China finished with seven total medals.

Host nation South Korea collected the most medals, including one gold from Jiseok Lee in the R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2). Jinho Park finished with two silvers and a bronze.

Ukraine also had a strong presence in the finals but were not able to claim a gold, earning three silvers and three bronze medals.

Newest Paralympic medal event a hot ticket

The addition of the R9 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH2) into the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games had many athletes flocking to compete in the discipline in Cheongju.

R9 had been a part of the World Shooting Para Sport programme for more than 15 years, including at four World Championships since 2002, as well as two regional Championships.

At the 2014 World Championships, 19 athletes competed in the event. At Cheongju 2018, 50 athletes competed.

Speaking of Tokyo 2020…

After their performances from each event, most of the medallists were mentioning one word: Tokyo. The road to the next Paralympic Games began in Cheongju. Here, athletes began their quest to secure quota slots for their countries toward those 2020 Games. Expect many of the faces seen in Cheongju to be vying for spots in Tokyo in upcoming competitions.

Highlights and photos can be found on World Shooting Para Sport’s Facebook page.

Complete results are available on the event website.