The 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships are less than a month away, and the upcoming Grand Prix in Szczecin, Poland, has many athletes making final preparations before entering the big stage.
The Grand Prix begins Wednesday (11 April), featuring 120 athletes from 27 countries, with many targeting last-minute MQS (minimum qualification scores) for the 2018 World Championships, set for 4-11 May in Cheongju, South Korea.
The competition consists of eight World Championship medal events (air events only) in three pistol (P1, P2 and P5) and five rifle (R1, R2, R3, R4, R5), and team events.
Ukrainians Oleksii Denysiuk and Vasyl Kovalchuk are among those coming off victories from last month’s World Cup in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Pistol-specialist Denysiuk will try to make it two-for-two this year in the P5 (mixed 10m air pistol standard SH1), and also improve on his World Cup bronze in the P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1).
Uzbekistan’s Server Ibragimov is back for his first competition since winning P1 bronze at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, and can challenge Denysiuk down to the final shot. Szymon Sowinski – who was knocked off the P1 podium in Rio by Ibragimov – will also aim for top pistol prizes on his home range.
In the rifle events, Kovalchuk heads into Szczecin fresh from winning three medals at the Al Ain World Cup, including silver in the R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2) and bronze in the R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2). The reigning R5 Paralympic champion can carry momentum into Cheongju 2018 with solid performances in both those events this week.
His wife Olga will also be on the range, but in pistol events. Szczecin will be her first competition in a year, as her last time out was at this very venue in Poland. The P2 (women’s air pistol SH1) Paralympic silver medallist will face tough competition from compatriot Iryna Liakhu, who will aim to improve on her third placed finish in Al Ain.
The Szczecin 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Grand Prix will runs until 14 April, and live results will be available online