New Delhi 2024: Cockbill rides on steady shooting, planning to take gold

The 33-year-old claims Paris 2024 quota for Great Britain in R9 finals; impressive wins for Zhang and Franceschetti while Peru get first ever quota 12 Mar 2024
Medallists on the podium.
Medallists of R9 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH2 pose on the podium at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting ranges in New Delhi on Tuesday.
ⒸParalympic Committee of India
By Priyanka Sharma l For World Shooting Para Sport

Great Britain’s seasoned shooter Ryan Cockbill says he has a ‘good chance’ to win his first Paralympic medal in Paris after he secured the quota and a gold medal at the New Delhi 2024 World Cup on Tuesday (12 March).

Cockbill, a Sydney 2019 Worlds medallist, was in his elements on the day having scored an impressive 625 in the qualification before shooting 250.6 points in the R9 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH2 final at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting ranges.

The 33-year-old from Birmingham was, in fact, in a tight race with Thailand’s Ittipat Maneejak, the eventual silver medallist with 249.4 points, for the gold and only gender free quota. But the former’s incredible shooting – 10.8 and 10.9 – helped him grab the gold and Great Britain’s fourth quota place for Paris. 

“My qualification round was good today. It was a solid performance as I could follow my plan. I wasn’t focusing on winning a quota, but I was focused on my plan and shooting process and it worked.”

“The next few months - I’ m going to work hard, work smart and aim for gold medals in Paris 2024,” said Cockbill, who is in search for that elusive Paralympic medal since his first Games appearance at London 2012.

Ukraine’s two-time Paralympic gold medallist Vasyl Kovalchuk (227.9) settled for the bronze, while Korea’s Kim Younmi (206.6) claimed the female quota place in R9 category.

Pillar-to-post win for Zhang

Disappointingly, France’s double world champion in the category Tanguy De La Forest, who also holds the world record in the category at 254.0 set at Al Ain 2023, failed to make the cut for the finals. 

Earlier, China's Paralympic medallist Cuiping Zhang claimed her first gold in New Delhi and her second individual medal overall. 

In R3 - mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1, Zhang pulled off a pillar-to-post victory, thanks to her consistent shooting, to finish on 253.5 points. In the process, she however had to overcome a strong challenge from Neutral Para Athlete Ryabchenko Tatiana who ended just 0.2 points behind. 

Slovakian veteran Veronika Vadovicova was third with 231.6, which was way below her world record mark of 255.7 achieved at Rotterdam 2023.

Tatiana secured the one female quota in the category as a Neutral Para Athlete, while New Zealand's Reid Gregory and Peru's Arcela Jorge claimed the male and gender free quotas in the category. It was also first ever quota for Peru, the hosts for the last World Championships 2023.   

New experience for Khandelwal 

Local star and Paralympic champion Avani Lekhara couldn’t do much in the R3 finals ending in eighth place. 

However, her fellow pistol shooters Rudransh Khandelwal and Nihal Singh made sure the Indian flag is raised at the home venue, finishing with silver and bronze in P4 - mixed 50m pistol SH1. 

Italy’s European champion in P1- men’s 10m air pistol SH1, Davide Franceschetti, led from start to finish to register an impressive win with 230.0 points in New Delhi. "It was my day, I felt good and relaxed while shooting. India has very good shooters, but I am no more scared of them," the Italian shooter said. 

For Khandelwal, “It was a new experience shooting at home in a World Cup. It was my fifth international and my shooting was okay – not so great. I am ready to work hard for Paris 2024. I have good technique; I will focus more on mental training.”

The competition at the New Delhi 2024 continues with the schedule and results can be found here.