Those to watch for in Para sport shooting

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Consistency, focus and a consistent heart rate under extreme pressure set these 10 Para shooting athletes apart at Tokyo 2020:

Cuiping Zhang (CHN)
Now nearly 20 years into his career, Zhang has won virtually every title to be won in sports. She has won medals at every Paralympic Games since being recruited for the Chinese national team ahead of Beijing 2008 and won two gold medals each at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Her most recent Paralympic success the has seen winning titles in the R6 (mixed 50m prone rifle SH1) and R8 (sport rifle 50m woman 3 positions SH1).

Zhang is responsible for nearly a quarter of China’s 36 parasport shooting medals, including nine (4 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) across three Paralympic Games, setting world records and Paralympics along the way.

©Wagner Meier

Michael Johnson (NZL)
Johnson will be competing at her fifth consecutive Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The Kiwi stood out by reaching the highest step of the podium at the Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004 in R4 (mixed air rifle 10m standing SH2). He followed that up with gold medals at the 2006 and 2010 World Championships.

The longtime Wonder from Down Under added two more Paralympic bronze medals (2008, 2012) and four more World Championship medals. The New Zealand flag bearer at London 2012 now splits his time coaching and recruiting athletes, as well as winning international medals.

©Getty

Sareh JavanTuesday (IRI)
Javanmardi picked up bronze at London 2012, but she really burst onto the scene four years later, adding two Paralympic golds and three world titles to her collection. Her achievement at the 2018 World Championships saw her win the P2 (SH1 Women’s 10 Air Pistol) and P4 (SH1 Mixed 50m Pistol) events in comeback fashion. However, she faced a setback at Worlds 2019, taking second place in P2 and missing out on the P4 podium.

But the Iranian has shown she intends to keep her Paralympic titles in Tokyo. Earlier this year, she set a P2 world record to win the event at the Al Ain World Cup.

©IPC

Manish Narwal (IND)
Part of the new generation of young stars in the para sport, the Indian teenage star heralded his arrival by winning gold at the 2018 Para Asian Games in P1 (Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1); he also won silver in P4 (mixed pistol 50m SH1). Since then Narwal has added two World Championship bronze medals and earlier this year showed why he will be tough to beat in Tokyo by setting a P4 world record on his way to World Cup victory. from Al Ain. This will be Narwal’s first Paralympic Games and, at just 19, expect to see more of him.

Manish Narwal (left) ©Durbravka Krmpota

Veronika Vadovicova (SVK)
A veteran and legend in the making, Vadovicova made her international debut in 1999 and has always been the one many rifle shooters aim to beat. One of the sport’s all-time greats, the Slovak continues to take on the challengers as she takes on the next generation of sports stars. She will be looking to add a fourth Paralympic title in Tokyo, in her sixth consecutive Paralympic Games.

Along the way, she set – and still holds – numerous records, including world and Paralympic records, and an incredible seven World Cup titles in 2017 alone. Slated to compete in nearly every rifle event in Tokyo, she will enter as defending champion in the R3 (10m mixed air rifle SH1 prone) and R2 (10m women’s air rifle standing SH1). Her 2019 Worlds weren’t her best performance, coming away with just one gold in her four individual events – the R2 (SH1 Women’s Standing 10m Air Rifle). But expect it to stay sharp like never before this summer.

©Cheongju 2018 LOC

Bolo Triyanto (INA)
Triyanto continues to prove that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. He came to Parasport shooting after finishing his track and field career to compete in the 2015 ASEAN Paralympic Games. There to more than compete, Triyanto returned home with a pair of medals, silver in R4 (air rifle compressed air rifle 10m mixed standing SH2) and bronze in R5 (air rifle 10m mixed lying SH2). Although he missed the podium at his 2018 Asian Paralympic Games, he recently placed in the top five at the World Cup in Lima this summer. Triyanto trains with his wife, who also competes for the Indonesian national team and hopes to join him in competing at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

©NPC Peru

Iryna Shchetnik (UKR)
If there’s anyone out there looking to take on Veronika Vadovicova’s role as the top rifle athlete in the sport, 21-year-old Shchetnik might be the one. Not yet born when her rival took her first steps on the international scene, Shchetnik stunned Vadovicova to win her first European crown in 2018, setting a world record in the R2 (women’s standing 10m air rifle SH1) in the process. She showed she was in top form with a win at the World Cup in Lima in June, picking up five medals, including three gold. Although her Slovakian rival left her with R2 silver at Worlds 2019, Shchetnik has a lot to show on her Paralympic debut in Tokyo.

© World Shooting Para Sport

Joackim Norberg (Sweden)
The Swede exploded onto the international scene at the 2014 World Championships with a double victory in P3 (Combined 25m SH1 Air Pistol) and P5 (Combined 10m Air Pistol SH1) in only his second year of competitive shooting. His greatest professional achievement came when he won silver in P3 at Rio 2016. The athlete nicknamed “hot shot” remained a constant threat on the podium in the pistol discipline.

©IPC

McKenna Dahl (USA)
Dahl made United States history by becoming the first athlete from her country since 2004 to win a Paralympic medal in the sport with bronze in the R5 (Mixed Air Rifle 10m Subject SH2) at Rio 2016. Dahl confidently won the R9 (Mixed Air Rifle 50m Standing SH2) at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games. She also won a silver medal in the R4 (Mixed Air Rifle 10m Standing SH2), revealing to be one of the region’s star athletes and one of the medal hopefuls at Tokyo 2020.

©Lima 2019

Abdulla Sultan Alaryani (UAE)
Alaryani was once known as the “King of the 50 Meters” and for good reason won medals over the distance at the Rio 2016 and London 2012 Paralympic Games. His gold medal in the R6 (Mixed 50 Meter SH1 m rifle prone) in London kicked things off, and Alaryani has remained a force to be reckoned with ever since.

He won three silver medals in Rio – R6, R7 (Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions SH1) and R1 (Men’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1), and he will no doubt hope to turn them into gold at Tokyo 2020. He proved he could, especially after a memorable performance at the 2018 World Championships.In the R7, Alaryani battled illness to win by more than 10 points. He also won the R6, once again demonstrating his liveliness over 50m.

©Cheongju 2018

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