The 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships officially kick off in one week with the Opening Ceremony on 3 May in Cheongju.
South Korea will field 31 athletes, and the host country have a chance to celebrate medal success through these five shooters:
Kim saw the most success for his country at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, capturing a pair of medals on his Games debut. He took silver in the R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2) and bronze in R4 (mixed air rifle standing SH2). The 44-year-old will take on his second World Championships, competing in both events, plus the newly-introduced R9 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH2). His first and only competition since Rio 2016 was the World Shooting Para Sport World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, last November. Kim showed he still has what it takes to medal after winning the R5 and claiming second place in R9.
It was actually these Championships four years ago where Park made a name for himself in the shooting world. With a stunning performance, he captured the R3 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH1) title and also added bronze in the R7 (men’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1) at the 2014 edition. At Rio 2016, he was his nation’s best hope for a gold medal, but it did not work out.
However, Park showed at the Bangkok World Cup that he is still in command. He won two gold medals, including R3 and a bronze in R7. Cheongju 2018 would be an opportunity to revive his career.
Two-time Paralympian Lee reached the podium in Rio with bronze in the R8 (women's 50m rifle 3 positions SH1). She just missed another medal in the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH2). She will face tough competition for gold though, as both the R8 and R2 events are expected to be a showdown between Slovakia’s Veronika Vadovicova and China’s Cuiping Zhang.
Jeon competed at London 2012, and the 51-year-old looked to have ended his shooting career in 2014 at the Asian Para Games. But after three years away he returned to the sport for the Bangkok World Cup, where he captured a pair of individual medals, including R9 gold. He will compete in every event compatriot Geunsoo Kim is in, and so the R4, R5 and R9 will have a good chance of home glory.
South Korea’s best chance at a medal in pistol events could come from Park. At 56 years old, Park has her focus solely on the P2 (women’s 10m air pistol SH1), in which she won gold last November in Bangkok.
The 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships run from 4-11 May, and will be streamed live on Paralympic.org. More information can be found on the event website.