World Shooting Para Sport has announced that Lasko, Slovenia, will host the second edition of the European 10m Championships from 11-19 June.
The competition will not only have regional medals on the line, but also serve as a warm-up for Europe’s top 10m athletes ahead of the sport’s pinnacle event — the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
With the stakes high, Lasko 2020 is expected to draw athletes from more than 25 countries around the continent.
Damijan Lazar, President of the National Paralympic Committee of Slovenia, said: “The desire for organising a shooting Para sport competition in Slovenia has been growing for many years now. And now we got the opportunity to not only host an international event, but even the European Championships. We want to add a new sport to the successful organisations of Para table tennis competitions. There is no doubt that these major sporting events have positive effects on the recognition of Para sports in Slovenia.”
The European Championships were last held in Belgrade, Serbia, in December 2018. It was the first time the Europeans took place since 2013 in Alicante, Spain.
Belgrade 2018 was the site where records were reset, and saw 122 athletes from 27 countries contend over 16 medal events, including eight individual titles.
The prodigious Ukrainian Iryna Shchetnik surprised the field when she beat Slovakia’s Paralympic champion Veronika Vadovicova in the R2 (women's 10m air rifle standing SH1).
Shchetnik set a new mark in the event: 249.6 points, 0.7 more than the former record set by Chinese Xiaohong Bai at the 2018 World Championships.
Dragan Ristic felt the joy of setting a record on home shooting range. The Serbian claimed gold in the R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2) to give the hosts’ their only individual gold at the competition. His score of 255.8 points was just 0.1 points more than the previous world record, set by Italian Andrea Liverani.
Next June, Francek Gorazd Tirsek could experience that same joy as Slovenia’s top medal contender, especially in the R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2). The 2016 and 2012 Paralympic silver medallist would hope for a gold-medal break, and might land that in Lasko.
Lasko 2020 is expected to raise the competition level even higher, with the 2020 Paralympics to follow two months later.