The city of Novi Sad, Serbia is all set to host the last official event for shooting Para sport ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, at the Air-Weapon Shooting Range from 1-4 July.
As many as 105 Para shooters from 20 countries will compete at Novi Sad 2021 Grand Prix, which is more of a preparatory event for the athletes in the run up to the Games. The shooters could still aim for individual MQS (Minimum Qualification Score) after the country quota slots have already been allotted, the Lima 2021 World Cup being the last event to offer quotas.
The event also holds significance as 15 athletes will be classified at Novi Sad 2021. That means 42 athletes are classified in three weeks with the first set of classification being done at Lima 2021 held last month.
With a total of 10 shooters, Ukraine looks the strongest team in the field with Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Vasyl Kovalchuk, Iryna Shchetnik (R2, R3, R6), Vitalii Plakushchyi (R4) and Andrii Doroshenko (R1, R3), all three of them Sydney 2019 World Championships medallists, in their ranks.
Germany will have their Paralympic silver medallist Natascha Hiltrop (R3, R6) to bank on for a medal winning performance.
In the pistol events, Ukraine will once again be the favourite with the presence of multiple-time world champions Oleksii Denysiuk (P1, P4) and Iryna Liakhu (P2 and P3).
Among other top names to watch out for this week are Sydney 2019 Worlds medallists Sweden’s Joackim Norberg (P1, P3, P4) and Aysegul Pehlivanlar from Turkey (P2, P4).
The hosts will have one of the biggest teams of 11 players with their medal hopes resting on Paralympic gold medallist Laslo Suranji (R1, R3, R6) and Sydney 2019 gold medallist Dragan Ristić (R4, R5 and R9).
Serbia will also have veteran Zoran Poucki (R1, R3) from Skosi Olimp, Zrenjanin, in their ranks.
Other teams like Azerbaijan, Israel, Iraq, India and North Macedonia to name a few will also make their presence through small teams.
Thursday will witness four finals - P1 – Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1, P2 – Women’s 10m Air Pistol SH1, R3 – Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 and R5 – Mixed 10m Rifle Prone SH2 being played. Results will be available here.
The Shooting Para Sport events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will take place from 29 August to 5 September at the Asaka Shooting range.