Suhl 2014: Top rifle shooters to follow18.07.2014
The world’s best shooters will line-up at the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships, with competition starting on Saturday 19 July.
British shooter Matt Skelhon and the host nation's Natascha Hiltrop will face Vadovicova in the search for their own glory.
The stage is set for 265 athletes from 53 countries to line-up up at the Schießsportzentrum Suhl (SSZ) in Germany for the biggest IPC Shooting World Championships in history.
Amongst the competitors from 18-26 July are some multiple Paralympic, world and European champion rifle shooters you should look out for on the live results page.
Since winning gold on her Paralympic debut at Beijing 2008, Vadovicova has emerged as one of the best rifle shooters on the international circuit. Just in October 2013 the 32-year-old won two European titles in Alicante, Spain, in R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) and R8 (women’s 50m rifle three positions).
Into 2014, Vadovicova has secured six first place finishes in IPC Shooting World Cups around the world and set a new R2 finals world record in June to top off a great start to the season ahead of the Worlds.
R2 and R8 Paralympic champion Zhang is a long-term threat to Vadovicova, having beat the Slovakian in both events at London 2012. But their rivalry extends back a long way.
Four years earlier, the Slovakian had collected her first Paralympic gold over Zhang in Beijing.
At the World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2010, Zhang collected R2 silver whilst Vadovicova languished in seventh place. However in R8, it was Vadovicova who finished ahead of the Chinese superstar with the two women in second and third respectively.
One of the greatest athletes ever to have graced para-sport, 17-time world and Paralympic champion Jacobsson is considering whether he will retire before Rio 2016 after an incredible three decades at the highest level of shooting.
He will head out in Suhl in one of his best events, R7 (men’s 50m rifle three positions SH1), to defend his world title from 2010 as well as being in the mix in other rifle events.
At Alicante 2013, he smashed through the 1,170 points barrier in R7 to set a new qualification world record and seal a score that he had been searching for since Sydney 2000.
4. Doron Shaziri, Israel
Shaziri has been eyeing up R7 glory behind Jacobsson for a number of years, even going through in first place ahead of the Swede at the preliminary rounds of London 2012 before missing out on gold by just a few points in the final round.
He has been narrowing the gap since the pair first met in Sydney but finished behind Jacobsson once again in 2010 and at Alicante 2013.
Currently the world-record holder in the R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2), the Auckland native won a Paralympic title in the event at Beijing 2008. He went on to win gold in R9 (men’s 50m rifle prone SH2) at the World Championships in 2010, followed by bronze in R4 at London 2012. To date, he has set a total of 10 Oceania, 13 world, and four Paralympic records in his decade-long career.
6. Dragan Ristic, Serbia
At Alicante 2013, Ristic just edged Ukrainian R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2) Paralympic champion Vasyl Kovalchuk by 0.1 points to claim the European title in a thrilling final.
Just two years after taking up shooting, the 35-year-old claimed gold at the 2010 Worlds and is defending that title at Suhl 2014.
By the time Rio 2016 rolls around, Ristic will be firmly in the hunt for his first Paralympic silverware.
The 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships begin with the Opening Ceremony on 18 July, before competition starts on 19 July.
A full competition schedule can be found at www.suhl2014.com.