The 2018 World Cup season for shooting Para sport is underway, and it started in top fashion.
On Thursday (22 March), the Al Ain 2018 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), saw a record-breaking opening day. Not only is Al Ain 2018 the first combined World Cup of rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines, but world records were equalled and surpassed.
Sweden’s Joackim Norberg recorded the first world record of the competition. He shot an astounding 28 in the P3 (25m pistol mixed SH1), beating the mark set by Ukraine’s bronze medallist from Rio, Oleksii Denysiuk. Denysiuk’s record was also set in Al Ain in February 2017.
Norberg, who won silver in Rio in the P3, found luck early with a 4 on his first shot and 3s from shots three through six. He surpassed shooters Korhan Yamac of Turkey (23) and Xing Huang of China (18) to capture the record-breaking performance.
The other record score came from Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon. Skelhon shot 254.8 in the R3 (10m air rifle prone mixed SH1) to tie the score set by the legendary Varonika Vadovicova at last year’s Al Ain World Cup.
After a trio of strong shots that saw a 10.9 and a pair of 10.8s to start the second stage, Skelhon took the win by outpacing Slovakians Radoslav Malenovsky (253.5) and Vadovicova (232.3).
China, led by Choa Dong, Xiaohong and Cuiping Zhang and hanging onto a strong 318.0 from the second series, took the team win in the R3 (10m air rifle prone mixed SH1) with a 1891.8 score. Ukraine’s Yurii Stoiev, Andrii Doroshenko and Iryna Shchetnik (1890.0) finished in second, and the United Arab Emirates’ Abdullah Sultan Alaryani, Obaid Aldahmani and Saif Alnuaimi (1886.8) nabbed bronze.
Turkey’s Korhan Yamac, Yunus Bahceci and Murat Oguz (1657-33x) won P3 (25m pistol mixed SH1), barely edging out the Republic of Korea’s Youngkyun Seo, Jungnam and Young Bae Kim (1657-22x), who finished with the silver. Ukraine’s Denysuik, Andriy Zakhvatayev and Iryna Liakhu (1651-26x) won the bronze.
Competition continues in Al Ain on Friday (23 March) with the P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1), R1 (men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1), and R8 (women’s 50m rifle three positions SH1).
Friday’s events are expected to be highlighted by Zhang on the R8. Zhang did not compete in 2017, but the triple medallist from Rio 2016 has made her return to pursue another top run.
Al Ain 2018 is crucial for athletes to garner a minimum qualifying score (MQS) ahead of the 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships in Cheongju, South Korea, which will take place from 1-12 May.
Live results are available on the World Shooting Para Sport website.