Chateauroux, France will open the 2022 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup season making history at the National Shooting Centre (CNTS).
The biggest World Cup to date will see 270 athletes from 50 countries competing from 6 to 12 June. Chateauroux 2022 will be the first competition to offer qualification slots to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
All ingredients together will make the World Cup an even more special event for France’s Tanguy de la Forest.
“I have never experienced the Games in my country, but I have only one desire, which is to be there, to know that my friends, my family, and the French public will follow us,” De la Forest said. “It is this enthusiasm that makes me want to be ultra-performing in two years. And that starts now with this World Cup in Chateauroux”.
A BEAUTIFUL SHOOTING RANGE
The French athlete started shooting when he was only 8 years old. Part of the national team from 25 years, he competed in five editions of Paralympic Games.
Last year at Tokyo 2020, De la Forest competed in three finals. Even if the results were not what he expected, the showed his ability to stay among the top of his sport for so long. Now at 44-years-old, he is still dreaming about a medal in France in two years’ time.
And the road to the podium in Paris starts now.
“Qualifying for the Games is in my head because my objective is Paris 2024,” he explained. “For me, having the quota is not an end. It’s important for me to be present and to be well positioned from now on”.
“It's a first step to shoot in my country. It is almost the most important element. All the best shooters in the world are going to be there to qualify from the first step, that's what's going to be interesting, to be able to fight with the bests”.
Another special reason to feel motivated about Chateauroux is the venue at the CNTS, “which is one of the most beautiful shooting ranges in Europe and the world,” according to him.
ON THE ROAD TO PARIS 2024
Former Vice President of the French Federation Handisport and now Secretary General of the French Paralympic Committee, De la Forest has followed the development of Para sports, and shooting in special, very closely.
“As an athlete, I have seen the evolution between Athens [2004 Paralympic Games] where there were very few people in the stands, and London [2012 Paralympic Games], which was an incredible event, which acted as a trigger.”
“I can say it is obvious that we expect a lot from these Games to be an acceleration of integration through sport and to have more participants in Para sports.”
For those coming to compete in France for the first time at Chateauroux 2022, the country number one shooter shares a very positive image of the host nation.
“We don’t have the impression that we are treated differently from able-bodied people. There is more and more enthusiasm from sponsors, the public and media. And this evolution may accelerate with the Paris Games in 2024,” he added.
YOUNG AND EXPERIENCED SUPERSTARS
Among the international stars coming to Chateauroux, one in particular represents the bright future of the sport.
After Tokyo 2020, Avani Lekhara became a superstar in India. The young athlete, who grabbed one gold and one bronze made her international debut in 2017. In France, she can qualify for her second Paralympics. Lekhara will be competing in four rifle events.
Two other household names come to France after a successful start of the season at the Hamar 2022 European 10m Championships in March.
Olivera Naskovska-Bikova became the first athlete representing North Macedonia to win a Paralympic gold at London 2012. In Hamar she finally added the European title to her CV.
Number one in the world ranking in the R6 mixed 50m rifle prone SH1, Slovakia’s Veronika Vadovicova will compete in four rifle events in France. She is a four-time Paralympic champion, five-time world champion and six-time European champion. No doubt a one to watch in Chateauroux.
In the men’s side, China’s Chao Yang will be defending his position of world number one in men’s 10m air pistol SH1. Present in three pistol events in France, he will be aiming for more gold following his triumph at Tokyo 2020.
With the tennis French Open in Roland Garros over, Serbia’s star to follow in France is no longer Novak Djokovic, but Dragan Ristic.
After his two gold medals at Tokyo 2020 and several titles in World and European Championships, he will be in action in two rifle events.
Vision impaired events made their debut in the Euros at Hamar 2022 with Barbara Moskal taking one gold and one silver for Poland. This year’s World Cup will be her third in Chateauroux and she will be competing in two rifle events.
The World Cup will also put the sport’s best to test ahead of the World Championships to take place in Al Ain, UAE in November.
Among the representatives of the host country of the next Worlds is Abdulla Sultan Alaryani who arrives in Chateauroux as the Paralympic champion in the R7 - men’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1. He will compete in two rifle events in France.
A total of 18 slots at Paris 2024 will be distributed at Chateauroux 2022. Men have the possibility to take four slots and women seven. Another seven can be obtained regardless of gender.
The Chateauroux 2022 World Cup will be live on World Shooting Para Sport Facebook page.
Live results are available here.
You can follow the action, results and behind the scenes on World Shooting Para Sport Social media channels on Twitter and Instagram.