Germany’s Natascha Hiltrop, Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon, the United Arab Emirates’ Abdulla Sultan Alaryani and Ukraine’s Vasyl Kovalchuk all stole the headlines over the final three days of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Shooting World Cup USA in Fort Benning, Georgia.
The competition wrapped up Sunday (9 October) with a dramatic finish in the 50m Rifle Prone Mixed SH1 event. Hiltrop tore up the ranges with 694.8 total points to scoot past Skelhon’s 693.8 points for the gold medal. Israel’s Doron Shaziri took bronze.
Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan’s Yelena Taranova won gold in the 50m Free Pistol Mixed SH1 event, as Russia’s Sergey Malyshev grabbed silver and his teammate Valery Ponomarenko stole bronze.
On Saturday, Alaryani blew away the field in the men’s 50m Rifle Three Position SH1 with 1,251.9 total points. Australia’s Phillip Adams won silver and Germany’s Josef Neumaier beat Slovenia’s Franc Pinter in a shoot-off for bronze after they tied in the final round.
Serbia’s Zivko Papaz overtook Urkaine’s Andriy Zakhvatavyev for the title in the men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 and Azerbaijan’s Ylena Taranova had an impressive performance in the final round of the women’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 to claim gold and leave Ukraine’s Olga Mustafaiva with the silver.
These results came after a competitive Friday that saw Skelhon fire an outstanding 704.9 total points to win the 10m Air Rifle Prone Mixed SH1 event, just ahead of his teammate Nathan Milgate, who shot a 703.7.
Ukraine’s Vasyl Kovalchuk battled with New Zealand’s Michael Johnson for the gold medal until the end in the 10m Air Rifle Prone Mixed SH2. Both athletes shot a perfect 600 in the first round and, oddly enough, both shot a 105.3 in the finals. In a sudden-death shoot-off, Kovalchuk topped Johnson, 10.5 to 10.4, to finish with the gold medal. Great Britain’s Ryan Cockbill took bronze in the event.
The event served as the second to last competition for athletes to earn qualification points for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. November’s IPC Shooting World Cup Australia will be the final event where they can earn qualification points.