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Kostevych and Karimova Shine At The ISSF World Shooting Championship In Changwon

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.

Kostevych and Karimova Shine At The ISSF World Shooting Championship In Changwon

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.

Juniors of France, Italy and Turkey Shine At The ISSF World Shooting Championship in Changwon

Rifle, Pistol and Running Target events were contested at the Changwon International Shooting Range in Changwon (KOR), where the 52nd edition of the ISSF World Championship is taking place since August 31st.

10m Air Rifle Mixed Team Junior

At the 52nd ISSF World Championship in Changwon (KOR), Marco Suppini (19) and Sofia Benetti (16) — bronze medalists at this year’s ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl (GER) — teamed up and pocketed their first gold medal, also setting a new Junior World Record with a score of 499.0 points, 0.2 points above the previous record set by India’s Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan in Suhl (GER) in 2018.

At the end of the three 5-shot series, it was 16-year-old Sadeghian Armina and 20-year-old Amir Mohammad Nekounam of the Islamic Republic of Iran who were leading the board, but Benetti and Suppini caught up their rivals and tied the score at 456.8 points with two shots left to fire. There, the Italian duo shot a fantastic climbed atop the podium. Finishing with a score of 497.7 points, Armina and Nekounam took the 2nd place.

India’s 17-year-old Shreya Agrawal and 15-year-old Divyansh Singh Panwar completed the podium in 3rd place with the score of 435 points; finishing only 0.6 points behind the Indian team, 15-year-old Wang Shuyi and 19-year-old Tian Xiangyu of the People’s Republic of China finished the final in 4th place with 391.5 points.

In 5th position, Denmark’s 20-year-old Christina Herskind and 18-year-old Nicklas Hojfeldt Kildehoj left the match after 17th with 347.5 points.

10m Air Pistol Women Junior

Turkey’s shooter Sevval Ilayda Tarhan won the 10m Air Pistol Women Junior gold medal at the Changwon International Shooting Centre, where the 52nd ISSF World Championship in all events is currently underway.

The Turkish shooter moved into the top position after the second 5-shot series, increasing her advantage shot after shot, after she found herself sitting on a comfortable gap: with six shots left to fire, in fact, Tarhan was 4.4 points ahead of her closest rival, and as the Turkish supporters already started celebrating, she sealed the world title with some solid shooting, scoring 237.9 points and claiming the first medal of the competition for Turkey.

The silver and bronze medal was respectively awarded to Republic of Korea’s Choo Gaeun and Georgia’s Lizi Kiladze (18). The 17-year-old Korean finished 2nd with 234.5 points; Kiladze, instead, scored 213.6 points and concluded in 3rd position.

Besting the 21st place she nailed twelve months ago in Suhl, France’s 16-year-old Camille Jedrzejewski placed just outside of the podium positions, signing off with 193.1 points and placing 4th. The French youngster was followed by Republic of Korea’s Yoo Hyunyoung, who placed 5th with 172.2 points, and by Germany’s Vanessa Seeger (16) who finished with 151.4 points and took 6th place.

Haniyeh Rostamiyan (19) of the Islamic Republic of Iran left the match after shot number 12, taking 8th place with 113.3 points; two shots later, the second Georgian shooter in the final — 18-year-old Nino Khutsiberidze — left the contest in 7th place with 130.5 points.

50m Rifle Prone events

The men’s and women’s 50 Rifle Prone events took place: in the men’s event it was Denmark’s Steffen Olsen who collected the gold medal. The 35-year-old shooter finished atop of the podium with 628.2 points and an advantage of 0.4 points on silver medalist Stian Bogar of Norway, second with 627.8 points. The bronze medal went to Thomas Mathis of Austria, who shot 627.1 points.

Germany won team gold with 1869.5 points, outscoring Team USA, who took silver with 1868.0 points. The bronze went to the People’s Republic of China who signed a combined score of 1866.8 points.

In the following women’s 50m Rifle Prone event, 22-year-old Seonaid McIntosh of Great Britiain scored 623.9 points, finishing in first place and winning the title with a thin but vital advantage of 0.2 points on Isabella Straub of Germany, who won silver with 623.7.

Bronze medalist Daniela Demjen Peskova of Slovakia was also very close to the top of the scoreboard, and she closed her final in 3rd place with 623.3 points — 0.4 points behind Straub.

McIntosh’s effort also lifted Great Britain on the 3rd step of the teams podium with 1850.6 points. In front of them, Germany bagged the gold medal with the unbeatable score of 1871.4 points: a new World Record, while Denmark finished 2nd with 1851.2.

50m Running Target events

27-year old Mikhail Azarenko of the Russian Federation won his first 50m Running Target Men event as a senior shooter in Changwon.

Azarenko — who was one of the best junior shooters between 2008 and 2010, when he won six titles between European and World Championship — made it to the highest step of the podium, beating Poland’s Lukasz Czapla in a shoot-off. Indeed, after both shooters finished the competition tied at 589 points, the Russian scored 20 points in the shoot-off, besting Czapla’s 19 and claiming his first world title.

Czapla won silver, adding it to the nine World Championship titles he won in the different events. The bronze medal went to Finland’s Tomi-Pekka Heikkila, with 587 points.

Azarenko’s victory also propelled the Russian Federation atop of the team podium with 1759 points. They beat Swedish who collected silver with 1756 points, and the Republic of Korea, who won bronze with 1738 points.

On the same layouts, France’s 18-year-old Nicolas Tranchant claimed the 50m Running Target Men Junior title with 579 points, leaving Ukraine’s 16-year-old Danylo Danilenko in 2nd place with 574 points. Completing the podium in 3rd position, Norway’s Espen Teppdalen Nordsveen shot 572 points and win his first medal in this event.

The ISSF World Championship in Changwon (KOR) will continue tomorrow with four more finals: the 10m Air Pistol Men Junior, scheduled at 11:15 am (UTC+9:00), the 10m Air Pistol Men, taking place at 1:15 pm, the Trap Men Junior, taking place at 3:00 pm, and the Trap Women, scheduled at 4:15 pm.

Anna Korakaki Claims Air Pistol World Title and Tokyo 2020 Quota Place

Rio 2016 Gold and Bronze medalist Anna Korakaki of Greece is the new women’s 10m Air Pistol world champion. The 22-year old athlete beat Serbia’s Zorana Arunovic, 31, with a total tally of 241.1 points. 2010 world champion Arunovic secured silver with 239.8 points.

Following them, South Korea’s Kim Boni took bronze with 218.8 points. The home shooter led throughout most of the match, sliding then down the scoreboard as she fired two frustrating last shots – 8.7 and 9.5. The medalists – as well as the fourth ranked shooter Wang Qian of the People’s Republic of China (198.1 points) – received a Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota places for their countries.

Korakaki said: “This is massive, I am speechless. This is a great day for me.”

The Greek athlete, at the age of 22, has already won almost everything to be won in this sport: an Olympic gold (in the 25m pistol event) and bronze in Rio de Janeiro, an ISSF World Cup Final in 2016, as well as three world cup stages and several junior titles.

“I won this title at my first try. In 2014, at the last ISSF world championship, I was still competing among junior athletes.”

“Winning a quota place feels amazing,” she commented. “This means I can now take a long break before starting my preparation for the Games. There are still two years to go, and I will need to recharge the batteries after this championship.”

“I started-off today’s final in a nice way, then I had some troubles. I was able to recover in the second part of the match. The Korean shooter was far ahead of me, but she made some mistakes, allowing me to get closer and finally to overtake her.”

The last two shots were a duel again Serbia’s Arunovic, a current world record holder, ranked second in the world.

“Being in a neck and neck fight with Zorana is a bit weird for me. She’s one of my best friends, in and out the range. During the final we were smiling at each other, and joking about being in that situation. But I was of course a bit nervous, being the athlete in the lead.”

Anna Korakaki

The People’s Republic of China climbed atop of the teams podium (Jiang Raxin, Wang Qian, Ji Xiaojing) and established a new world record score of 1739 points.

The host country South Korea (Kim Minjung, Kim Bomi, Junghye Kwak) followed in second place with 1734 points, finishing 14 points ahead of the Russian Federation (Vitalina Batsarashkina, Margarita Lomova, Svetlana Medvedeva), third with 1720 points.

Later today, Team South Korea 1 and Team South Korea 2 won gold and silver at the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team event, ahead of Team India 1.

The 52nd ISSF World Championship in all events will continue tomorrow with the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team Junior and the 10m Air PIstol Women Junior Finals.

52nd ISSF World Championship opens in Changwon, Korea

The opening ceremony of the championship took place at the Changwon Indoor Gymnasium, where hundreds of spectators were entertained by some colourful exhibitions of dancers and other performers. Among the many authorities who attended the ceremony: Mr. Olegario Vazquez Raña, President of the ISSF, Mr. Franz Schreiber, Secretary General of the ISSF, Mr. Lee Nak-yon, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Kim Kyung-soo, Governor of the Gyeongsangnam-do province, Mr. Heo Seong-mu, Mayor of Changwon City, and Mr. Hwang Yongdeug, President of the Korea Shooting Federation, who was the first to take the podium.

“I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the present authorities,” said Mr. Hwang. “For their full support, as well as the organizing staff for their dedicated efforts. Changwon City has been the herb of shooting sport in Korea, as it organized the ISSF World Cup for eight times since 2003, contributing to the development of our sport.”

Athletes and officials of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also attended the ceremony, and they were greeted by all the authorities, including the Prime Minister of the host country: “I would like to mention the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea delegation, warmly welcoming them as my compatriots,” said Mr. Lee. “I hope your stay will be enjoyable and I wish you best of luck.”

Finally, the President of the ISSF, Mr. Olegario Vazquez Raña took the stage, officially declaring the 52nd ISSF World Championship in all events open.

“Authorities, athletes, judges, referees and officials, it is an honour and a great joy for me to welcome you all to the 52nd ISSF World Championship in the beautiful city of Changwon, which always welcomed us with warmth, generosity and open arms,” Mr. Raña also said. “Korea is the only Asian country that organized the ISSF World Championship twice. First forty years ago in Seoul in 1978, where I participated as a competitor and where for the first time I thought I could one day become the President of the then UIT.”

The national anthem of the Republic of Korea and the one of the International Shooting Sport Federation were then played to the audience, sealing a remarkable opening ceremony.

Earlier today, Mr. Olegario Vazquez Raña met the former UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon at the Changwon World Peace and Democracy Forum.

Delivering a keynote speech to the forum, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said: “I would like to thank the ISSF President, Mr. Olegario Vazquez Raña, and the ISSF Secretary General, Mr. Franz Schreiber for being here today. It is very meaningful to host this forum here in Changwon, in occasion of the 52nd ISSF World Championship in all shooting events.”

“Sport and peace have a profound relationship: sport can contribute to peace as it has the power to promote tolerance and mutual understanding. The ISSF World Championship is happening in the right place at the right time.”

Mr. Ban Ki-Moon continued: “A delegation of 22 North Korean athletes and coaches has arrived here in Changwon to take part in the championship. This is a great occasion to promote inter-Korean relationships and to build on the momentum. I believe it’s great that athletes from the North and from the South will get to compete in the same events.”