Australia’s Natalia Smith showed that she is still a strong medal contender for Rio 2016 on Saturday (18 April), taking victory over Slovakian world and European champion Veronika Vadovicova at the IPC Shooting World Cup in Szczecin, Poland.
London 2012 bronze medallist Smith took the win in R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) to claim the first World Cup gold medal of her career, as two world records fell over the weekend.
Smith (206.9) took an early lead over Vadovicova (205.4), shooting a 10.8 and perfect 10.9 in the first competition stages.
The 39-year-old nurse then carried the momentum into the elimination rounds, rarely faltering to build a convincing lead over the Slovakian and claim the top place on the podium.
German Sabine Brogle will also be pleased with her first career World Cup top three finish, taking bronze with 181.7.
Rounding off Saturday’s action, the UAE’s Abdullah Sultan Alaryani (208.6) stormed to a new finals world record in R1 (men’s 10m air rife standing), adding 2.2 points to the previous score of absent Serbian European champion Laslo Suranji.
Alaryani faced a challenge from Denmark’s Jens Frimann (205.8) in the first three rounds of elimination, with Frimann at one point just trailing the leader by 0.2, but Alaryani pulled clear in the fourth after the Dane posted an 8.9.
Ukrainian Iurii Stoiev made it onto the podium for the second time in Poland, sealing bronze with 183.3.
New Zealand’s three-time Paralympic medallist Michael Johnson then set a new finals world record in R4 (mixed 10 air rifle standing SH2) on Sunday (19 April).
Adding to the score of France’s Tanguy de la Forest set at the first World Cup of the season in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, just last month, Johnson shot 212.6.
Ukrainian European champion Vasyl Kovalchuk (211.3) could not match Johnson’s focus, taking silver ahead of Great Britain’s Ryan Cockbill (189.5) in third.
The podium for Cockbill contributed significantly towards Great Britain’s (1882.3) team gold medal, leading Ukraine (1860.4) and Germany (1834.9) into silver and bronze respectively.
Roy Carter (352) collected another medal for the Brits in P5 (mixed 10m air pistol standard SH1). Poland’s Szymon Sowinski (347) showed promise in the second series, scoring 90 points over Carter’s 86, but Carter came back and did just enough to seal the win.
The Czech Republic’s Frantsiek Konecny (338) completed the podium.
Poland collected the team gold with 972, Great Britain (957) took their second team medal in silver ahead of the Czech Republic (932) bronze.
Action continues at the 2015 IPC Shooting World Cup on Monday (20 April), with more action in the pistol events.
Live results, from IPC Shooting’s Target and Results Systems Provider Sius, are available.