Hannover, Germany, will witness history with the first World Shooting Para Sport tournament for vision impaired athletes at the International Shooting Competition from 6 to 12 May.
The new class was officially adopted in February following the transference of governance of VI shooting from the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) to World Shooting Para Sport.
Athletes with vision impairment can compete in air rifle events shot at 10m distances. Shooters use an audio signal to guide them in their aiming, with the audio signal rising in pitch as the point of aim moves nearer to the centre of the target.
Twenty vision impaired athletes will be in action in Hannover. The International Shooting Competition will also count with other 180 shooters from 30 nations, including many Paralympic medallists.
Hiltrop headlines German team
Rio 2016 silver medallist Natascha Hiltrop will headline the German team that also includes Paralympians Bernhard Fendt, Norbert Gau, Josef Neumaier, Manuela Schmermund and Elke Seeliger.
Apart from the home shooters, one of the stars in the German city will be three-time Paralympic champion Veronika Vadovicova.
Slovakia’s 36-year-old most recently claimed her third and fourth World Championships titles in Cheongju, South Korea. Hannover will be her first competition of the year.
Ukrainian Vasyl Kovalchuk will be another top athlete in attendance. The Rio 2016 gold medallist in R5 (10m air rifle prone SH2) is looking to reach his best form ahead of Sydney 2018, where he aims to take a world title again after five years.
Matthew Skelhon will be a one-to-watch. The 34-year-old Brit, who took his only world title in 2014, is hoping to relive his glory days later this year.
The International Shooting Competition of Hannover serves as preparation for October’s World Championships in Sydney, Australia.