The world’s best R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) competitors will battle it out for the first medals of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The opening day of competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will see a total of 42 shooters in action across two events at the Olympic Shooting Centre in Deodoro.
World record holder and reigning Paralympic champion Cuiping Zhang and European and world champion Veronika Vadovicova are likely to be the frontrunners for Rio’s first gold medal. Vadovicova is aiming to reclaim the title she won at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
Germany’s Manuela Schmermund, who won gold in Athens, is also a contender – but she has been bridesmaid to both Vadovicova and Zhang at the previous two Paralympic Games.
Natalie Smith won Australia’s only shooting medal four years ago in London with a bronze in R2 and will return to the Paralympic arena in pursuit of a new prized possession.
The men will then take to the firing line for R1 (men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1), which features defending champion Dong Chao and 17-time Paralympic gold medallist Jonas Jacobsson.
Two other key contenders are finals world record holder Abdulla Sultan Alaryani from the UAE and Ukraine’s Andrii Doroshenko, who was the bronze medallist at the Suhl 2014 world championships.
Alaryani and Doroshenko have both been in terrific form this year each with an R1 world cup title to their name.
Alaryani will compete in four events in Rio and will be hoping to get his campaign off to the perfect start.
Doroshenko is among a wave of young Ukrainian shooters who have made their mark on the sport in recent years, and he’ll be hoping to land a gold medal just one day after his birthday.
Slovenian Franc Pinter is more than twice Doroshenko’s age and will draw on his experience as he bids to shoot his way to a fifth Paralympic medal. Pinter is currently ranked No. 3 in the world and is no stranger to the R1 podium with three silver medals and one bronze.
Only the top eight athletes from each event will advance from the qualification stages through to the finals.