“It was a good start to year personally for me and for the team. Hopefully we’ll keep it going all the way to the World Championships.”
The first IPC Shooting World Cup of the season in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, gave a glimpse of what fans can expect at July’s IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany, as it was highlighted by several convincing performances from Great Britain and Ukraine.
Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon (203.3 points) collected an unexpected gold medal in R1 (men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) ahead of Ukrainian teammates Iurii Stoiev (199.5) and Andrii Doroshenko (178.1), as well as a silver medal in R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1).
“It was a good start to year personally for me and for the team. Hopefully we’ll keep it going all the way to the World Championships,” the R3 London 2012 silver medallist said.
It was Slovakian Veronika Vadovicova who took the spoils in R3 with a score of 211.2 ahead of Great Britain’s Skelhon (208.8) and teammate Lorraine Lambert (186.6).
Vadovicova, who collected three medals at the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships in Alicante, Spain, including two golds, also shot to victory (207.0) in the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing), beating Great Britain’s Deanna Coates (200.3) and Norway’s Monica Lillehagen (180.2).
Over in the pistol competitions, Hungary’s Krisztina David beat Azerbaijan’s reigning P2 (women’s 10m air pistol SH1) European champion Yelena Taranova (195.6) with a new world and European finals record of 196.0. Ukraine added another medal to their haul for the competition with a bronze for Iryna Liakhu (172.6).
In the men’s equivalent, Azerbaijan’s Kamran Zeynalov (194.5) was victorious in the P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1) ahead of Sweden’s Hakon Skold (192.5) and Great Britain’s Stewart Nangle (172.4).
R5 (mixed 10m rifle prone SH2) European bronze medallist, Finland’s Minna Leinonen, was responsible for a nail-biting conclusion in the same event against Ukraine’s Vasyl Kovalchuk.
Kovalchuk led Leinonen in the finals by 0.4 with just one shot remaining, going on to score a 10.8 with his last shot. Despite the pressure, Leinonen pulled out a 10.9 to score 212.0, beating Kovalchuk (211.9) by only 0.1. Rounding off the podium was British shooter James Bevis (190.2).
Australian Jason Maroney (210.1) continued his great form from training with a win in the R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2) and a new Oceania finals record. He beat Ukraine’s Kovalchuk (209.6) and Great Britain’s Richard Davies (188.8).
The next 2014 IPC Shooting World Cup takes place in Szczecin, Poland, in May followed by Fort Benning, USA, in June.
Around 250 shooters from 45 countries will then gather in Suhl for the World Championships.