“It would be really great to win two medals, but I know it will be challenging with the high level of competition from around the world.”
With 50 days to go until the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany, IPC Shooting has named nine shooters as Ones to Watch for the event.
Between them, the five women and four men, have won 21 Paralympic and 18 world titles and are likely medal contenders for the World Championships which take place between 18-26 July.
Full biographies for each athlete can be found at: www.paralympic.org/ones-to-watch
Natascha Hiltrop (GER), 21
Germany’s most promising medal hope, Hiltrop impressed at the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships in Alicante, Spain, with her first ever major international gold medal in R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1).
Veronika Vadovicova (SVK), 31
Vadovicova is the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) and R8 (women’s 50m rifle three positions SH1) European champion who won Paralympic R2 gold in Beijing.
A rival of Hiltrop, the two women will look to challenge China’s reigning R2 and R8 Paralympic champion Cuiping Zhang.
Cuiping Zhang (CHN), 26
Cuiping Zhang claimed the first gold of the London 2012 Paralympic Games in R2, setting a world and Paralympic record in the process, followed by another Paralympic title in R8.
Michael Johnson (NZL), 39
Johnson is celebrating a decade since his Paralympic debut at Athens 2004. The 39-year-old sharp-shooter is still going strong and is the current world record holder in in his favourite R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2) event:
“It would be really great to win two medals, but I know it will be challenging with the high level of competition from around the world,” he said about his chances at Suhl 2014.
Sergey Malyshev (RUS), 39
Fans of pistol shooting should look out for 2008 Paralympic champion Malyshev, who after winning several European titles has still yet to win a world title.
Krisztina David (HUN), 38
David will be aiming to peak in Suhl after spending the past two seasons climbing the rankings, culminating in her career best performance at Alicante 2013, a P2 (women’s 10m air pistol SH1) European bronze.
Minna Leinonen (FIN), 32
Following her Paralympic gold in 2004, Leinonen ended a nine year drought without a major international Championship medal by winning a bronze at the Alicante 2013 European Championships.
Matt Skelhon (GBR), 29
After sporting a distinctive red mohawk to win gold at Beijing 2008 just two years after taking up shooting, Skelhon finished second in R3 (men’s 10m air rifle prone SH1) at London 2012. He returned to form in 2013 winning European gold in the R6 (mixed 50m air rifle prone SH1) with new world record scores in qualification and finals.
Jonas Jacobsson (SWE), 48
Jacobsson, the 17-time Paralympic champion, will be over half-way through his fourth decade of competitive shooting when he competes at Suhl 2014. Strong in many events, his duel with Skelhon in the R7 (men’s 50m rifle three positions SH1) will be one to savour. After setting a new qualification record on his way to European gold in 2013, he will be confident of retaining his world title in the event.
The 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships take place from 18-26 July and will gather around 250 athletes from 45 countries in the historic shooting town of Suhl, Germany.