Of the top five nations on the medals table at the 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships, four were Asian.
Without a doubt, the region is strong in the sport, and the competition at the 2018 Asian Para Games – which begin 100 days from now – will feature many recently crowned world champions.
Here are 10 Asian shooters expected to impress in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 6-13 October:
Sareh Javanmardi, IRI
Javanmardi won both her pistol events at May’s World Championships in comeback fashion, and her performance reinforced why she is the one to beat in the P2 (women’s 10m air pistol SH1) and P4 (mixed 50m pistol SH1).
The two-time Paralympic champion will be Iran’s biggest hope for success in Jakarta, and she will be her country’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony on 6 October.
Abdulla Sultan Alaryani, UAE
If Alaryani can dominate his way to world gold in the R7 (men’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1) – amid flu-like symptoms – how much more can he achieve when he is healthy? He has been a consistent podium finisher on the international stage, and expect the reigning world champion to be on target in the R7 and R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1).
Huang Xing, CHN
Huang medalled in all three of his pistol events at the Cheongju 2018 Worlds, including gold in P3 (mixed 25m pistol SH1). The P4 looked to be also his for the taking, but Javanmardi denied him the chance to be called a two-time world champion. A rematch could happen in October.
Yang Chao, CHN
Yang and Huang made up a one-two Chinese pistol punch at Cheongju 2018. Yang captured the P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1) title, while Huang secured the bronze. Yang was also in the running for the top pf the P4 podium.
Bai Xiaohong, CHN
Bai flew under the radar heading into the 2018 Worlds, but she will now be one to watch heading into the Asian Para Games. The 31-year-old broke the world record on her way to gold in the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1), upsetting Slovakia’s Paralympic champion Veronika Vadovicova.
Jinho Park, KOR
Park was South Korea’s hottest name at his home World Championships. He made his nation proud with three individual medals, just falling short of golds in the R1 (men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) and R7.
Jiseok Lee, KOR
South Korea celebrated a gold medal from Lee in the R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2). It is his strongest rifle event, so expect to find the 44-year-old in the finals.
Chul Park, KOR
While Jinho Park and Jiseok Lee are South Korea’s rifle strengths, Chul Park will try to bring his nation glory in the pistol events. He pushed Huang in the P3 finals but had to settle for silver. He also took silver in the non-Paralympic event P5 (mixed 10m air pistol standard SH1). Will gold finally come in Jakarta?
Rubina Francis, IND
The 19-year-old did not medal at the 2018 Worlds, but she did turned heads by setting a qualification junior world record in the P2. It was only her fourth major competition. At the 2017 World Cups in Bangkok, Thailand; and Al Ain, UAE, Francis reached the P2 finals, and her aim will be to make it through the qualification rounds in Jakarta.
Manish Narwal, IND
Narwal is another Indian star on the rise. He made a strong debut on the international scene with silvers in the P1 over two World Cups. In Cheongju, he set a qualification junior record. Reaching the finals in Jakarta would also be huge.
Thailand’s lone medal in Cheongju came in the R5 (mixed 10m rifle prone SH2) team event, as Anuson Chaichamnan, Chatchai Senachan and Dutsara Thongdee claimed bronze. The trio were also responsible for helping Thailand medal in rifle events at World Cup level, and will be hoping to step up to individual success at Indonesia 2018.