Cheongju 2018: Rifle preview – part 1

These shooters are aiming for gold in R1, R2 and R3 events 28 Apr 2018
Woman with rifle waves at crowd

Slovakia's Veronika Vadovicova is the reigning Paralympic R2 and R3 champion

ⒸWagner Meier

The 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships will see 13 individual medal events, including nine rifle disciplines.

As competition gets underway 4 May in Cheongju, South Korea, here are the shooters to keep an eye on in the R1 (men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1), R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) and R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1):

R1 (men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1)

Home advantage might work in Jinho Park’s favour. The South Korean had an outstanding performance at the World Cup last November in Bangkok, Thailand, where he won a pair of gold medals, including in R1. It was a good recovery from his Rio 2016 disappointment, where he ended sixth. Cheongju 2018 could now be his big break.

But China’s Chao Dong is a strong contender. In March, the reigning Paralympic champion showed up to his first competition since Rio and won the event at the World Cup in Al Ain, UAE. The UAE’s Abdulla Sultan Alaryani will be another one to watch out for after he claimed Paralympic silver behind the Chinese.

R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1)

One of the sport’s biggest rivalries comes in the R2. Slovakia’s Veronika Vadovicova won the first gold medal of the 2016 Paralympics in this event, defeating China’s Cuiping Zhang. Vadovicova has not taken much time off since Rio 2016, going on a roll to win every R2 competition except March’s Al Ain World Cup, where she failed to medal. Even Zhang had to settle for silver, with Ukrainian teenager Iryna Shchetnik claiming gold. The 18-year-old could be a talent on the rise in Cheongju.

R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1)

Vadovicova’s other gold medal from Rio came in R3, and once again, she will be the one to take down. Germany’s Natascha Hiltrop however is hungry for a victory in this event. With silver at Rio, followed by three more from two World Cups and a Grand Prix, the 25-year-old can smell gold. Also watch for Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon. After leaving Rio 2016 without a medal, the Beijing 2008 champion is determined to close out his career with a bang. He won R3 at this year’s Al Ain World Cup.

R (1-3) schedule:

R1 and R2 finals – Friday, 4 May

R3 finals – Tuesday, 8 May

All 13 individual finals will be streamed live on the International Paralympic Committee's website. More information on Cheongju 2018 can be found on the event website.