A total of 25 world records have been broken so far in 2013, as European shooters prepare for their biggest competition since London 2012, and ahead of the World Championships.
No less than 21 medallists from London 2012, including Great Britain’s Matt Skelhon and Spain’s Juan Antonio Saavedra Reinaldo, will be part of a group of more than 170 athletes from over 30 countries who will gather in Alicante, Spain for the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships from 20-25 October.
The R3 (10m air rifle prone mixed SH1) is likely to be one of the most hotly contested medal events of the Championships with Skelhon looking for revenge, after France’s Cedric Fevre broke the world record at London 2012 to take gold in the event. Skelhon has shown good form this year, and the 28 year-old will also be mindful of the threat posed by Reinaldo and Sweden’s 17-time Paralympic champion Jonas Jacobsson.
Three of the top four finishers from London will go head-to-head in the R6 (50m rifle prone mixed SH1). On home soil, Reinaldo will look to improve on his Paralympic silver, whilst bronze medallist Skelhon and fourth place finisher Jacobsson will also be contenders.
In the pistol events, Macedonian shooter Olivera Nakovska-Bikova, who set a personal best to win Paralympic gold in London, will resume her battle royale with Russian Marina Klimenchenko in the P3 (25m pistol mixed SH1).
Two of Russia’s top male shooters - Sergey Malyshev and Valery Ponomarenko – who won silver and bronze in London in the P3 (25m pistol mixed SH1) will resume their rivalry.
Up-and-coming German Natascha Hiltrop will face Veronika Vadovicova again in the R8 (50m rifle 3 positions women SH1) on the range at Alicante. The 21 year-old pushed the Slovakian London 2012 bronze medallist off the top spot at May’s World Cup in Turkey with a score of 205.3.
The R7 (50m rifle three positions men SH1) could also see some new faces emerge after dramatic final format changes were introduced at the beginning of 2013. It will be a challenge of endurance, as now finalists face a gruelling battle of having to compete in each of the three firing positions (standing, kneeling, prone) in the knock-out final. Under previous rules athletes competed only in standing position in the final round.
It will only be the second ever time the event has been staged under the new rules, with the climax seeing an exciting duel between the top two athletes for gold and silver medal position.
A total of 25 world records have been broken so far in 2013, as European shooters prepare for their biggest competition since London 2012, and ahead of the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships which will take place in Suhl, Germany on 19-26 July.