Day four of the 2013 International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup USA will feature three savvy Olympic veterans for the USA Shooting team with the start of the smallbore (.22 caliber) portion and competition in Men’s Three-Position Rifle along with the start of the Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol.

The U.S. team will look to get back in podium position Thursday following 23rd-and 25th-place performances by veteran Amy Sowash (Richmond, Ky.) and newcomer Elizabeth Gratz (Sigel, Ill.) in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event on Wednesday. Sowash got back into competition this week following the nine-month sabbatical she took to rest and recuperate following an intense Olympic tryout while also taking time to serve as assistant coach for the University of Kentucky Rifle program.

“It’s really fantastic to be back on the line,” she said after the event today. “I missed the competition and the hard work. The lessons I learned coaching are certainly paying off and I am looking forward to mastering the new format.”

The Chinese rifle team scored the top two finishers in competition with Liuxi Wu and Jing Chang finishing first and second, respectively. West Virginia University rifle shooter Petra Zubasling, the 2013 NCAA Air and Smallbore Rifle Champion, earned the bronze medal competing for Italy while her WVU teammate and German shooter Maren Prediger finished sixth overall.

For complete ISSF World Cup results, click here:

http://www.issf-sports.org/calendar/championship_schedule_by_discipline.ashx?cshipid=1443

It’s been the younger USA Shooting Team members making a name for themselves to start the World Cup with air pistol gold by Will Brown, 21, and air rifle silver by Dempster Christenson, 22. But, on Thursday, Team USA’s featured shooters have a combined 10 Olympic Games to draw upon against a talented field in both events.

Jason Parker (Omaha, Neb.) has proven himself to be among the world’s best any time he steps to the line in three-position as highlighted by his win in the ISSF World Cup Final in 2012. In his fourth Olympic Games, Parker’s finish (30th) wasn’t up to his usual high standard, but rebounded nicely with the World Cup Final win. On his home range in front of friends and family, Parker won’t be holding anything back while aiming for his 10th World Cup medal.

“I am very excited to be competing in the Ft. Benning World Cup,” said Parker. “It is always fun to compete on our home range with the support of family and friends. I have one goal in mind and that’s to stand on the top podium and listen to our National Anthem being played.”

Joining Parker on the line will Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.) who will look to add to his medal collection. Also competing will be Dan Lowe (Olympia, Wash.) and Hank Gray (Belgrade, Mont.) while Parker’s U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit teammates Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wis.) and Joe Hein (Lansing, Mich.).

Slovenia’s Rajmond Debevec is among the foreign competitors to watch in the world-class field. A three-time Olympic medalist (2 bronze; 1 gold), Debevec was the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in Prone while winning 2008 Olympic bronze and 2000 Olympic gold medals in 3P.

For a complete Men’s Three-Position Rifle start list, click here: http://bit.ly/18ZsITb

Rapid Fire Pistol athlete Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.) actually won his Olympic silver medal as part of the Bulgarian Olympic Team at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, having competed in three Olympic Games for his native country before moving to the United States in 2004. Milev was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.

“I’m excited to be able to compete in Ft. Benning again,” said Milev. “This is going to be my first international start after the Olympic Games and the anticipation is building up. I changed a lot of things in my training routine and I’m looking forward to this competition for affirmation of all the work I’ve done in the last six months.”

Joining Milev in competition is two-time Olympian Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who competed in the last two Olympic Games and was an Olympic finalist in 2008. Other U.S. competitors include Sean Ragay (Ft. Benning, Ga.), Brad Balsley (Uniontown, Pa.) and young junior shooter Alexander Chichkov (Tampa, Fla.).

The field in Rapid Fire pistol might be the best of any competition all week in Ft. Benning, as the last two Olympic gold medalists as well as the 2012 Olympic silver medalist are competing. Cuba’s Leuris Pupo is the reigning Olympic champion while Ukraine’s Oleksandr Petriv held such distinction as the 2008 Olympic gold medalist. Vijay Kumar of India was the 2012 Olympic silver medalist.

For a complete Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol start list, click here: http://bit.ly/18ZsITb

2013 World Cup USA Schedule

Friday, May 10 – Women’s 50m Three-Position Rifle & Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol (Stage 2 + Finals)

Saturday, May 11 – Women’s 25m Pistol & Men’s Prone Rifle (Eliminations)

Sunday, May 12 – Men’s Prone Rifle (Qualifying & Finals) & Men’s 50m Free Pistol

Logo courtesy USA Shooting

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