During an action-packed day-7 at the 52nd ISSF World Championship in all events in Changwon, Republic of Korea, Ukraine’s Olena Kostevych claimed her first 25m Pistol Women world title.The 2004 air pistol Olympic Champion won a spine-chilling final, after a head and head duel against Russia’s Vitalina Batsarashkina.
Batsarashkina led the whole match, managing a thin advantage on Korevych right to the second-last series, when the Ukrainian athlete tied her at 35 hits. In the last series, both athletes scored two hits, ending up the final with an equal score of 37 hits. Three shoot-off series were necessary to break the tie, when finally Kostevych beat her Russian opponents, winning the title with a score of 37+4+4+3 hits. Batsarashkina – who had won the Air Pistol Mixed Team title along with her teammate Artem Chernousov six days ago – claimed silver with 37+4+4+2 hits.
“I am extremely happy, this has been an epic final.” Kostevych said. “I want to dedicate this title to my husband and my daughter. I have secured a quota for Tokyo, but this doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. I will continue training for the next competitions.”
The bronze medal went to Germany’s Doreen Vennekamp, who scored 31 hits. All three medallists were awarded an Olympic Quota Place for Tokyo 2020 (including Batsarashkina, who had already won a quota spot in the Mixed events). Chinese Taipei’s Chia Chen Tien joined them in the Olympic club, as she placed in fourth claiming the last qualification spot up for grabs today, with a score of 26 hits.
Later today, Yulia Karimova of the Russian Federation collected an odds-defying victory at the 50m Rifle 3 Positions Women event. The 24-year old athlete – ranked 40th in the world and competing in her first world championship – finished atop of the podium with 461.1 points, gaining the title as well as an Olympic quota place for Tokyo 2020. With excellent scores in the kneeling and in the prone series, she beat the 2009 European junior champion – Germany’s 27-year old Isabella Straub – who closed the match in second with 459.5 points. The young winner also outscored the world’s #1 Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia – arriving here in Changwon after a world cup victory in Fort Benning this year – who closed today’s match in third with 446.4 points,. Seonaid Mcintosh of Great Britain, who had won the non-Olympic 50m Rifle Prone Women event here in Changwon just three days ago, begged the fourth Olympic quota up for grabs at today’s competition, joining the three medalists in the Olympic club as she placed in fourth with 435.0 points.
Among the juniors, Team Italy 2 (Erica Sessa and Lorenzo Ferrari) won the Trap Mixed Team Junior final with 42 hits, beating Team Italy 1 (Maria Lucia Palmitessa and Matteo Marongiu) and Team China 2 (Wendi Gao and Yiliu Ouyang). The People’s Republic of China also celebrated a gold medal in the 25m Pistol Women Junior event, as Wang Xiaoyu claimed the junior title with 37 hits, and a 10-hit advantage on USA’s Morgan Katelyn Abeln (silver with 27 hits). Bronze went to Anna Dedova of the Czech Republic with 25 hits.
The 52nd ISSF World Championship in all events, held in Changwon, South Korea, from the 31st of August to the 15th of September, sees some 1800 athletes from 91 countries competing in 59 Olympic and Non-Olympic shooting events.