Serbia's Dragan Ristic and Ukraine's Iryna Liakhu hold their nerves to win their events in Australia17 Oct 2019
Dragan Ristic of Serbia competing in the R9 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH2) during the Sydney 2019 World Championships
By Ros Dumlao | World Shooting Para Sport
The wind was not calming down, and neither was Dragan Ristic’s heart rate. Thinking now or never, the Serbian decided to shoot, and it was barely enough to win a nail-biting final of the 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships on Thursday in Sydney, Australia.
It was Ristic’s first Worlds title in the R9 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH2), and first in Sydney.
He fell short of defending his crown in Tuesday’s R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2) event, one he also held the European title in.
But Thursday, he was the most consistent athlete on a windy day.
“I shot very well in the final, better than the qualification, so I felt good coming in,” said Ristic, who finished fourth at the 2018 Worlds.
Day 6 Highlights | Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships
Spectators held their breaths in the final shot between Ristic and Ukraine’s Vitalii Plakushchyi. The duo was locked at 236.8.
Flags were blowing at the outdoor 50m range, signifying the strong gusts.
Dragan struck first, hitting 10.0, then Plakushchyi 9.9.
Ristic’s loader gave him a big hug.
“I saw the wind become stronger and thought, ‘should I wait a few more seconds?’” Ristic said.
“I waited to the moment when the flag lowered, then I shot. I saw I got 10.0 which was good. But I waited and waited for Vitalii to shoot.”
Ireland’s Phil Eaglesham hung in to take the bronze medal.
The second vision impaired (VI) world champion was decided on Thursday, with Poland’s Barbara Moskal taking full command.
Moskal, who turns 25 later this month, had only been shooting VI for three years. As the daughter of a jail officer who practiced shooting with her dad for recreation, she turned her talent into gold by winning the VIS (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH-VI).
In the final shot series, she already had a strong enough lead over Austria’s Patrick Moor – 214.3 to 202.2 as the final score. Great Britain’s Michael Whapples was third.
“Barbara is a young lady and in standing position, she is a rock,” Moor said.
VI shooting moved from the International Blind Sports Federation to World Shooting Para Sport family earlier this year and completed its Worlds debut on Thursday.
Action concludes Friday, last day of the Sydney 2019 World Championships, with R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1), P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1) and mixed team rifle SH2.