2018 in Review: Shooting Para sport10.12.2018
A year filled with Worlds, Europeans and Asian Para Games
The 2018 shooting Para sport season was fully loaded with major and new events. Here are six key competitions that saw athletes shine brightly:
The sixth edition of the World Championships marked the start of the qualification process to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, making the stakes high for the 223 athletes from 46 countries competing across the 13 individual events.
The event took place in the South Korean city in May, when stars like Slovakia’s Veronika Vadovicova, Iran’s Sareh Javanmardi and UAE’s Abdulla Sultan Alaryani reinforced their golden intentions towards Tokyo 2020.
The stars from Cheongju 2018 returned to the main stage for the World Cup in France. The event was an opportunity for athletes to compete in a new state-of-the-art venue by French Federation of Shooting Sports.
More importantly, quote slots for Tokyo 2020 were on the line. The Chateauroux 2018 saw 232 athletes from 44 countries, take on rifle, pistol, shotgun and - for the first time - vision impaired disciplines.
History was made in the Italian city where the inaugural World Championships in Para trap hit off in October. The shotgun discipline was officially welcomed into the World Shooting Para Sport go for world titles. Australia's Scottie Brydon, Finland's Vesa Jarvinen and Italy's Francesco Nespeca each claimed the first Worlds gold medals offered.
In October, the 2018 Asian Para Games featured five days of shooting Para sport action in Jakarta, Indonesia. It saw 109 athletes from 19 nations vie for top honours in the 13 medal events.
Chinese Paralympic champion Cuiping Zhang won gold in the R8 (women’s 50m rifle 3 position SH1). Javanmardi again set the golden standard by winning both her pistol events.
The 2018 European 10m Championships rounded off an exciting year in shooting Para sport in Belgrade, Serbia. The regional competition returned for the first time since 2013, with 122 athletes from 27 countries contending over 16 medal events, including eight individual titles.
The prodigious Ukrainian Iryna Shchetnik set a world record in the R2 (women’s air rifle standing SH1), stunning Paralympic champion Vadovicova. Home favourite Dragan Ristic sent the local fans wild after claiming the R5 (mixed air rifle prone SH2) title to record the hosts’ only individual gold of the Euros.
Right after Cheongju 2018; Sydney, Australia, was announced as next in line to host the World Championships. The seventh edition aligns with the change to odd-year Championships, as the previous six editions were held every four years in between Paralympic Games. Even more, the 2019 edition will set the stage for Tokyo 2020.