“Persistence pays”, according to USA Shooting National Pistol Coach Sergey Luzov. It’s the phrase he used to describe Alex Chichkov. That persistence paid off with a landmark victory for Luzov’s pistol program as the star pupil grabbed a much deserved World title Tuesday in Junior Standard Pistol.
The U.S. taking medals at World Championships in Shotgun has become the norm as it did in taking four the past two days. Not so in pistol. Chichkov becomes just the second junior World Champion ever in Pistol for the U.S. along with just the second-ever medalist joining Joseph Gonzalez who won four pistol World Champs medals in 1994. Today’s medal by Chichkov was the first individual pistol medal of any kind, open or junior, since 1994 as well.
“I’ve never really experienced the feeling of winning finals like this,” Chichkov said about his big moment. “It’s good to finally have a good result after the hours of training, day in and day out. It’s relieving to finally win. The World Championship is a meeting of the best of the best. The best shooters in the world and so it’s the ultimate symbol of international marksmanship.”
Though not an actual Olympic event, there’s no telling the significance of Chichkov’s World title. Luzov hopes it just the start of things to come in the future.
“All his hard work paid off today and I’m really happy for that because that shows the way for how it can be done,” Luzov said. “Today, he stayed focused all the way through and got even better at the end. Alex has the motivation, likes the sport and goes after it. He’s got a great athlete and coach relationship going with his father.”
Chichkov highlighted a relatively quiet Tuesday on the Juan Carlos I Range outside Granada, Spain, site of the 2014 World Shooting Championships. Chichkov’s medal brings the U.S. medal total to 12 with four World Champions, one Team champion and two Olympic quotas earned.
His counterpart in the open division, Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado), had a medal in hand before a fatal last string (five shots) eliminated him from medal contention. He went from a sure medal to a 12th-place finish in a matter of moments with fatigue being the biggest factor. Greg Markowski (Columbus, Georgia) finished 41st, while four-time Olympian Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida) finished 49th.
Junior Men’s Prone Rifle was also on the schedule today with Tim Sherry (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) finishing an impressive 11th with a 617. Garrett Spurgeon (Canton, Mo. ) finished 32nd with a 611.7 while Remington Lyman (Meriden, Connecticut) was 35th with a 611.
Wednesday’s schedule includes the first two rounds of Men’s and Junior Men’s Skeet. The open division features two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia), 2012 Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) and Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas). Perry has been on-target in 2014 winning a bronze medal at World Cup USA in Tucson, Arizona, and following that up with a fourth-place finish in World Cup Munich.
The junior skeet competitors include Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas), Luis “Taz” Gloria (Tucson, Arizona) and Christian Elliott (Greenwood, Indiana).
Also on tap is the qualification round of Women’s 300-meter Prone Rifle where Reya Kempley (Carson City, Nevada) will look to duplicate similar results as she performed today in winning the elimination match by three total points. She’ll be joined on the line by Erin McNeil (Ft. Wayne, Indiana). Michelle Bohren (Taylor, Michigan) was unable to advance pas t the elimination stage. Men’s 300m Standard Rifle will also be contested featuring Joseph Hein (Mason, Michigan).
Image courtesy USA Shooting