IPC Shooting has confirmed that 34 National Paralympic Committees have so far secured coveted quota places for shooting at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, including four that have qualified directly for the first time.
The news follows the first Paralympic qualifier of 2015 – the IPC Shooting World Cup in Osijek, Croatia, in early July, with two more to come in Australia and the USA in September and November respectively.
In Osijek, shooters from Spain and Italy won places for their countries, with Kuwait, Bulgaria and Uzbekistan all heading to a Paralympic shooting range for the first time. Ireland obtained their inaugural direct qualification, having competed as a bipartite entry at London 2012.
Athletes were first able to obtain quota spots at the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany, where 28 countries successfully began their road to Rio 2016.
Sarah Bond, IPC Shooting Sport Manager, said: “The athletes and teams seem to be delighted with the new qualification system, which is working to ensure that more countries have the chance to compete at the highest level.
“We have seen the quality of competition increase consistently in line with an increased investment by countries to develop shooting and their athletes. We are pleased that this is now all coming together to create what I am sure will be one of the most competitive Paralympic Games in history at Rio 2016.”
Also in Osijek, 11 countries added to their quota numbers with South Korea currently leading the way with 11 places. China have seven whilst Great Britain have achieved six spots.
Australia also have six, having already equalled their number of quota places obtained for London 2012, with a home World Cup in Sydney, Australia, from 15-19 September still to come.
The last IPC Shooting World Cup of the season in Fort Benning, USA, will take place between 3-7 November, offering athletes the final opportunity to qualify.
Once the qualification period ends, countries will begin the process of nominating which athletes will travel to Rio de Janeiro.
The full list of countries that have achieved quota places can be found on IPC Shooting’s website.