Ukraine’s gold medallist Vasyl Kovalchuk was not the only happy athlete on the podium after the R9 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH2 at the Lima 2021 World Cup on Wednesday (16 June). Vincent Fagnon’s silver meant the world to the French shooter.
The result earned France a quota place for France at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games just one day after Fagnon celebrated his birthday.
“It was my birthday yesterday and I told my coach I’d give myself the best present by taking the quota to Tokyo. I’m very happy to be here in Peru,” celebrated Fagnon, who started to compete professionally less than four years ago.
The present he gave himself in Lima came with lots of drama. Fagnon needed to end up in front of three other shooters to reach the quota place for Tokyo. After 18 shots, Fagnon and Germany’s Moritz Moebius were tied for fourth place and headed to a shoot-off.
The French shot a 9.9, while Moebius scored an 8.9 and finished fifth.
“At the beginning, I was not among the top performers and I had to climb the rankings little by little,” he said, remembering that was not the first time he faced such a challenge.
“I did the same in the European Championship when I had four shoot-offs and finished sixth. Now I have the quota and the silver medal.”
After beating Moebius, Fagnon’s next challenge was Thailand’s Anuson Chaichamnan, who had a 0.1 advantage over him and was also pursuing the qualification spot.
Fagnon scored 10.4 and 10.3 in the next two shots, while Chaichamnan had a 10.3 and a 10.2, ending up eliminated by 0.1. To win silver, the French went on to beat Italy’s Andrea Liverani again by 0.1.
Liverani finished the competition with the bronze medal, his second in Lima after winning gold in the R4 - mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2 on Sunday.
Gold medallist Kovalchuk took an early lead and never let go, finishing with 247.1 points and yet another gold medal for his country, the fifth for the Ukrainians at Lima 2021.
“It was a very difficult final and I’m happy I succeeded to be the gold medallist, even though I have to admit I had some emotional misses in the final”, said Kovalchuk.
Italian and Russian golds
In the R9 – team mixed 50m rifle prone SH2, Italy got the gold medal with a score of 1845.2, while Thailand finished second with 1827.1. The other two events of day four had Russia on the top of the podium.
Sergey Malyshev took gold with 367 in the P5 - mixed 10m air pistol standard SH1, while South Korean Younmi Kim was the silver medallist with 356 and Russian Oksana Berezovskaia bronze with 348. In the team event, Russia took gold and South Korea silver.
On Tuesday (14), Germany and India also managed to win medals and quota places for the Paralympic Games. In the P1 - men’s 10m air pistol SH1, Tobias Meyer got a quota for Germany by winning the silver medal with a 237.3 score.
First place went to Ukraine’s Oleksii Denysiuk, who dominated from the very first shot and finished with 237.9. USA’s Xia Gong was third with 211.1 and got his second bronze in Peru.
In the P2 - women’s 10m air pistol SH1 it was all for Rubina Francis. The Indian shooter led all the way to score 238.1 points. The silver medallist, Kazakhstan’s Bigaisha Makhayeva, finished with a score of 230.4, while bronze medallist Krisztina David from Hungary scored 211.0.
The World Cup continues on Thursday with two more finals: R3 - mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1 and P4 - mixed 50m pistol SH1.
On Friday, the last day of the competition, it is time for the R5 - mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2 and the R6 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 finals.
You can watch the Lima 2021 World Cup live on the World Shooting Para Sport Facebook page.
Complete results from Lima 2021 can be found here.