Today, on the last day of the World Shooting Championships, we learned that history can, in fact, repeat itself. Junior Pistol competitor Alex Chichkov proved it so when, for the second time in three days, he stepped up and earned himself another World Championship title in Sport Pistol. If Tuesday’s title was a landmark achievement, which it was, today’s win might prove beyond compare.
Certainly, in the history of the U.S. Pistol team it is, for no other athlete, open or junior, had ever won two World Championship titles at one event. Even within the storied rifle program is it all that common, particularly since 1972. Glenn Dubis won two world titles in 1990, the last USA Shooting Team member to accomplish the feat until today. Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) is just the fifth junior all-time since events began in pistol in 1989 to earn multiple world titles in a single event.
“It feels great. I’m very happy,” said an almost stunned Chichkov. “No doubt the best feeling I’ve ever had. There was a lot of dedication involved not only on my part but the people who support me including USA Shooting, my coaches, Emil Milev, my family and Pardini.”
Chichkov didn’t just win a second world title, he dominated it. Among the world’s best, there’s no such thing as eight point victories, but that’s exactly the point differential between Chichkov and the second-best performer, Dario Di Martino of Italy.
Not bad for a kid who got started shooting by going with his father, Vladimir, to the shooting range at the age of nine. Eleven years later he’s on top of the world. There won’t be any stopping now he says and he’s already looking to top this moment, but knows there’s only one thing that will: The Olympics and Olympic gold.
Competing alongside Chichkov, Brian Kim (Los Angeles, California) finished 23rd while Tony Chung (Diamond Bar, California) end in 30th position.
The U.S. Shotgun program closed a successful competition with the dynamic performance of rising skeet shooter Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas) who finished with the bronze medal. Jungman finished third in qualifying with a 121 and then shot 13/16 in the semifinals to advance to the bronze-medal match. In his face-off with German shooter Felix Haase, Jungman would drop one from his second pair and was facing a fourth-place finish from Haase who had been perfect right up until his 16th target when he missed giving Jungman new hope with a shoot-off. Two different times in the shoot-off Jungman would miss first, only to have Haase miss right behind him. Finally, Jungman would connect on both targets in his fourth pair and Haase would miss giving the bronze medal to Jungman.
Jungman had lost some confidence following USA Shooting’s Spring Selection Match in Kerrville, Texas, just barely making it on to the team. He worked harder than he’s ever worked before in the game according to his father, Chris, who was in attendance. An opportunity to compete at the Junior Cup and earn a fourth-place finish among top international junior competition gave him the extra confidence he would need to earn a medal at the World Championships.
Luis “Taz” Gloria (Tucson, Arizona) and Christian Elliott (Greenwood, Indiana) both finished with 114/125, good enough for 21st and 22nd place. Their overall performance notched a team silver medal as well.
Erin McNeil (Fort Wayne, Indiana) completed a successful World Championships with a bronze-medal performance in the Women’s 300-meter Three-Position Rifle event. The Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) shooter had a ninth-place finish in Prone from the same distance as well. Reya Kempley (Carson City, Nevada) came in with a 14th-place finish while Michelle Bohren (Taylor, Michigan) was 24th.
McNeil’s USAMU teammate Joe Hein (Mason, Michigan) finished 11th in the same event on the men’s side. Hein was among the leaders through two positions (kneeling and prone) before struggling in the standing portion.
The doubles on station four of Men’s Skeet proved to be the ultimate decider of fate Friday with Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) losing his bid to become World Champion again as a result of them. He missed a target on each of the two pairs thrown on that station in his final round, which forced him into a shoot-off where he’d miss one there too to be eliminated from medal contention.
Hancock’s ninth-place finish combined with Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) in 17th and Tyler Perry (Lovelady, Texas) in 33rd-place was good enough for a team silver medal. Thompson needed a perfect score on his final round to get into the same shoot-off with Hancock, but a dropped low-house target on station seven and one target on station four (doubles) forced the early exit from his ultimate goal.
Image courtesy USA Shooting