The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup series moves on to Munich, Germany this week with 712 rifle and pistol athletes from 79 countries poised to compete. The U.S. has sent a young, but talented squad looking to continue their winning ways featuring recent World Cup USA Men’s 10m Air Pistol gold medalist Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) and Men’s 10m Air Rifle silver medalist Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.).

“I am looking forward to competing again here in Munich,” said Brown; who will compete in the 10m Air and 50m Pistol events. “I am just going to execute my match plan to the best of my abilities and let the results take care of themselves.”

Competition begins Saturday at the Olympic Shooting Range in Munich/Hochbrück with a strong group of eight athletes competing for the U.S. team. Rounding out this young squad will be National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) gold medalists and National Junior Rifle Team members Ryan Anderson (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Ky.).

Anderson, who led the University of Alaska Fairbanks rifle team to a fourth-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Championship, also led the team in both smallbore and air rifle. At NJOSC, he swept the smallbore events with gold in Prone and Three-Position; as well as claimed silver in Men’s 10m Air Rifle.

Davis, a standout at the University of Kentucky, finished fourth in Air Rifle at the 2013 NCAA Championships as well as helped the Wildcats place second as a team. He won gold in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event at NJOSC. Davis competed in his first World Cup in Ft. Benning and though he was not competing for World Cup points, his score would have qualified him for the Finals.

Other National Junior Rifle Team members representing the U.S. will be Garrett Spurgeon (Canton, Mo.), who helped West Virginia claim its 15th NCAA Rifle Championship earlier this year and 2012 Women’s 10m Air Rifle National Champion Kelsey Emme (Rapid City, S.D.), a sophomore at Murray State.

Along with the youth, the U.S. brings experience in 2012 Olympian and 1996 Olympic silver medalist Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.), who will compete in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. Milev actually won his medal as part of the Bulgarian Olympic Team, having competed in three Olympic Games for his native country before moving to the United States in 2004.

The athletes competing at this World Cup were coach-selected from this spring and summer 2012 events with a focus on athletes best prepared to compete and who can deal with the travel right before the USA Shooting National Championships next month, said USA Shooting’s Director of Operations Dave Johnson. This year’s Nationals will also serve as a selection match for the upcoming World Cup in Granada, Spain in July.

Competitors  are still adjusting to the new ISSF rules in place that have brought about the most extensive set of modifications in the sports history while implementing a completely new Finals format. After the qualification rounds, which are conducted under the old rules, the top-eight shooters advance to a semifinal-a new competition stage. The qualification score is not carried forward as all the semifinalists start from zero. The new rules push even greater drama on the final stages. The ISSF feels that the changes make medal decisions easier to understand, thus enhancing the viewing excitement for both spectators and TV audience.

After two World Cup events in Fort Benning and Changwon, Korea, China continues to lead the medal standings with a total of 15 medals, including six gold and eight silver. Germany remains in second place with five gold, two silver and one bronze.

Image courtesy USA Shooting

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