“Even before a shot has been fired, this event has already made the record books, and has the potential to be the best World Championships ever."
The biggest ever IPC Shooting World Championships officially opened on Friday (18 July) at an impressive Opening Ceremony in the German city of Suhl.
To celebrate the unique character of the surroundings there was dancing, local music and an introduction to the tournament mascot - Suhly the Fox- before the athletes paraded to loud cheers from the crowd in the Platz der Deutschen Einheit.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board Member John Petersson officially opened the competition, as a fitting gun salute using antique firearms from the local Waffen museum sounded.
He said “Even before a shot has been fired, this event has already made the record books, and has the potential to be the best World Championships ever.
“This sport has made significant progress in recent times and the biggest contributor to this success has been the athletes whose performances continue to inspire and excite the world.”
“Since London 2012, participation has continued to soar and an improved competition programme has created more opportunities for athletes to compete at an international level.”
Petersson went onto thank the gathered representatives of the Thuringia region, the city of Suhl, the Schießsportzentrum Suhl and the German National Paralympic Committee (NPC), the organisers of the competition.
German NPC President Julius Beucher also addressed the crowd at the Opening Ceremony, and praised the commitment of the athletes competing in Suhl.
He said: “265 athletes from 53 countries will meet in Suhl to demonstrate their skills but also to provide observers with an insight into the potential and likely future of para-shooting.
“All sport shooters are aware that consistently successful results in this discipline are only possible through a combination of concentration and precision, self-control and team spirit, long hours of training, technical understanding and skills.”
The first day of competition is on Saturday (19 July) and will feature a number of top athletes starting their quest to be crowned world champion.
Sweden’s 17-time Paralympic gold medallist Jonas Jakobsson will be on the hunt for glory once more in R1 (men’s 10m air rifle SH1) against the hosts’ world champion Josef Neumaier and Chinese Paralympic gold medallist Chao Dong.
In R2 (women’s 10m air rifle SH1) Slovakia's Veronika Vadovicova looks to be the one to beat but will have to get past China’s Paralympic champion Cuiping Zhang.
New Zealand’s Michael Johnson will be looking to retain his IPC Shooting World Championship title in R9 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH2), ahead of Ukrainian European champion Pavlo Volynets and his teammate Vasyl Kovalchuk.
More information, including live results, are available at www.suhl-2014.com.
High quality rights free pictures from each day will be available to download at the IPC's Flickr account.
Alternatively search #Suhl2014.