Slovakia’s double European champion Veronika Vadovicova claimed three gold medals and a new world record at the IPC Shooting World Cup in Fort Benning, USA, (3-7 June) to edge closer towards her first world title in July.
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic champion won R2 (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1), R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1) and R8 (women’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1) events, doubling her 2014 IPC Shooting World Cup wins to six.
In the form of her life, the 31-year-old bettered her own finals world record in R2 in the very first event to post a score of 207.5. Behind her, Lesley Baldwin (199.6) and Karen Butler (179.1) started a haul of nine medals for Great Britain at the US Army base in Georgia.
However it was Great Britain’s R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1) European champion Matt Skelhon (204.7), alongside teammate Ben Jesson (203.0), that eventually toppled Vadovicova (181.5) in R6, with Skelhon eager to prove that he is one of her biggest threats heading into the 2014 Worlds.
In R3 Skelhon (210.9) and Jesson (188.7) trailed Vadovioca (211.8) in second and third, whilst Lorraine Lambert (439.9) and Butler (428.7) faced the same fate in R8 with Vadovicova scoring 448.2.
Swede Joackim Norberg dominated the pistol events, picking up three out of the five gold medals on offer. Norberg only entered international shooting in 2013 but managed to set a new European finals record in P1 (198.6). South Africa’s Von Zuener Kohne (188.6) was second with an African finals record and Mongolia’s Ganbaatar Zandraa (170.2) surprised in third.
There was further promise for Zandraa (178.2) with a win in P4 (mixed 50m pistol SH1) ahead of Gurisatti (175.7) and Sweden’s Hakan Skold (158.8).
Meanwhile Norberg’s (365) next gold came in P5 (mixed 10m air pistol standard SH1) against Hungarian Gyula Gurisatti (347) and Norway’s Bjorn Morton Hagen (343).
Completing the hat-trick, he then beat Australia’s Christopher Pitt (2) by six points in the P3 (mixed 25m pistol SH1) gold medal match. Kohne (7) beat the USA’s Michael Tagliapietra to add the bronze medal to his collection.
Back in the rifle events, Norberg’s team mate Martin Hall took victory (444.8) in R7 (men’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1). Like Norberg, the 20-year-old only made his debut last year but led much more experienced Israeli Doron Shaziri (441.7) and Slovakia’s Radislav Malenovsky (415.9) onto the podium with a score of 444.8.
Collecting a further gold medal for Great Britain was James Bevis in R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2). Bevis (212.3) shot consistently against Australia’s Mark Bradley (210.9) and Jason Maroney (189.2) in R5.
Rounding off the rifle results, Maroney (209.0) further showed his potential by smashing through the R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2) qualification world record. The Wangaratta native added 2.1 points to the existing score going on to win the event ahead of Canadian Mike Larochelle (207.6) and teammate Bradley (187.5).
High-quality pictures of the 2014 IPC Shooting World Cup from Fort Benning, which was the last competition before the 2014 World Championships, are available from USA Shooting's Flickr page.
The 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany, start in just 40 day’s time from 18-26 July and will feature around 250 shooters from nearly 50 countries.