The results didn’t go the way the U.S. Team would have liked to start the 2014 International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Championship with Men’s Air Rifle and Men’s 50m Free Pistol.
Near perfection was demanded in Air Rifle and even the sports best had trouble keeping up with just four of the top-10 making the event final.
The pace was set by China’s 18-year-old air rifle sensation Haoran Yang, who blistered qualifying with a World Junior Record of 632.1, a 10.53 average (out of 10.9 high score) per shot. He then went on to win the gold medal. Nazar Louginets of Russia and Vitali Bubnovich of Belarus were the silver and bronze medalists. These three as well as the fourth thru sixth-place finishers all earned Olympic quota spots for their country today meaning China and Russia both qualified two spots with France grabbing the other.
Top U.S. finisher was Ryan Anderson (Wasilla, Alaska) whose 623.9 left him in 22nd place. He was pleased with his performance overall, shooting just two 9s over 60 shots. Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Kentucky) was up-and-down throughout his match and never found the groove he was looking for. He settled for 42nd with a score of 621.3. Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) finished 77th with a score of 616.4. Anderson will remain in Granada where he’ll compete in Men’s Three-Position Rifle on beginning Friday.
Jason Turner (Rochester, New York), James Henderson (USAMU/Midland, Georgia) and John Zurek (Phoenix, Arizona) were unable to advance in the elimination match to determine event qualifiers in the Men’s 50m Free Pistol event. Zurek and Henderson both tied with scores of 535 while Turner was one back at 534 as they finished 19th overall as a team. The top-66 shooters out of 100 that shot in Elimination advanced to Tuesday’s qualifier.
Both the Men and Junior Trap Men got their first two rounds of five started Monday as well. In the open division, Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) ran a 25 straight to end his day after missing just one his first round for a 49. Seth Inman (USAMU/Independence, Missouri) had a 23 opening round but finished strong with a 25-straight and a 48. Ryan Hadden (USAMU/Pendleton, Oregon) had 48 a different way hitting a 25-straight his first round and then dropped two early birds to begin the 2nd round and finished with a round of 23 and 48 overall. Sixty-three shooters are currently 48 or higher.
On the Junior Men’s side, Garrett Beissner (Hondo, Texas) connected on 47 targets to lead the American trio followed by Ryne Barfield (Poulan, Georgia) with a 46 and Austin Odom (USAMU/Benton, Arkansas) at 44.
These six U.S. Men continue their quest for World Champs glory with another two rounds of action on Tuesday. They complete the event Wednesday with the final round of 25 targets plus finals.
What’s Ahead for Tuesday, September 9:
Women get their first starts at this World Championship with another six Olympic quotas on the table in Women’s Air Rifle as well as day one of 25m Sport Pistol in both open and juniors.
Stepping to the line in Air Rifle will be Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana), Sagen Maddalena (Groveland, California) and Amy Sowash (Richmond, Kentucky). Beard’s highest World Cup finish to date has been 15th during the 2013 World Cup also in Granada. Maddalena is a rising talent but is short on experience with just two previous World Cups earlier this year where she finished 17th and 47th. Sowash got the assignment due to the injury withdrawal of teammate Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Massachusetts). She’s by far the most experienced of the group and will look to shine Tuesday with an additional opportunity to compete. It’s been 27 years since the last Women’s Air Rifle medal when Deena Wigger earned bronze in Suhl, Germany in 1986. Three strong Chinese women and Matt Emmons’ wife, Katy, are among the top shooters to look out for.
The Women’s 25m Sport Pistol event features open shooters Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama), Teresa Chambers and Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Fla.). Junior competitors include Irina Andrianova (Schaumburg, Illinois), Taylor Gallegos (Prosper, Texas), Kellie Foster (Rockdale, Texas).
Additionally, the Junior Men take their turn at the 50m Free Pistol event with Wyatt Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho), Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) and Dan Wilkinson (Charleston, South Carolina) set for competition. Hopefully, these three will find themselves in the first Junior Final ever contested at a World Championships, a new highlight of this championship.
Image courtesy USA Shooting