Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon produced a dominant performance to break the finals world record and win his first world title on Tuesday (22 July), day four of the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany.
The London 2012 Paralympic silver medallist produced a superb display to claim gold in the R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1) thanks to a 3.6 point advantage over his nearest rival.
Elsewhere, there was gold for Sweden’s Joackim Norberg as he squeezed past Russia’s Sergey Malyshev in a terrific P3 (mixed 25m pistol SH1) final.
In the R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1), Skelhon qualified in first place and in the final, incredibly composed shooting saw him open up an unassailable lead by the halfway stage.
With four competitors remaining, Skelhon’s lead stood at 2.2. By the time he entered the final round he led Sweden’s Jonas Jacobsson by 3.2 and gold was all but secured.
“I am over the moon, I really wanted to win. I just missed out yesterday so it feels fantastic to win this today,” said the 29-year-old who won silver in Monday’s (21 July) R3 (Mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1).
“I moaned about it a bit yesterday, but I woke this morning and just concentrated on today’s event – I wasn’t going to let this one get away.
“It was difficult conditions out there, fairly windy, but I know I can shoot well in the wind. When it came to the final the wind dropped a bit, so that gave me even more of an advantage.”
Determined to win in style, Skelhon fired a 10.9 with his penultimate shot, before landing a 10.3 to break his own finals world record in 209.5.
“As soon as I got in the lead in a little bit, I just wanted to build on that,” said the new world champion.
“When I got two points ahead, I thought I am going to have to make a massive mistake to lose this one, but I have had some problems in the past with dropping the last few shots, but this time I stayed strong and focussed throughout – it felt good.”
Jacobsson (205.9) took silver and Israel’s Doron Shaziri (184.5) the bronze, whilst Russia landed gold in the team rankings.
In the P3 (mixed 25m pistol SH1) final, Norberg regularly traded the lead with Malyshev with the gold anybody’s for the taking. Every time Norberg gained an advantage, he was pegged back by some expert shooting from the Russian Paralympic silver medallist.
But Norberg kept his nerve, and with the scores at six apiece, he landed his first and fourth shot to secure the victory 8-6.
“I am delighted. It is my first gold medal in my first World Championships,” said the 45-year-old.
“He [Malyshev] is a tough shooter and has been doing this for a long time. I knew what I had to fight for and in the end I could hold my nerves together.
“It’s not over until it’s over, and it goes back and forth. When you get the lead, you get an extra stress in your body and he is a good shooter, so anything could have happened.”
There was another dramatic finish in the bronze medal match. With the scores at 6-6, China’s Hedong Ni’s final effort forced another round against Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s Olivera Nakovska-Bikova. Ni eventually took the medal with a 9-7 victory.
Although he finished with silver in the individual event, Malyshev did get his hands on gold as his efforts in qualification helped Russia to top the podium in the team event
More information, including live results are available at the event website
You can also listen to all finals live at http://ipc.chaos-radio.net.