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  • Thirty-two Paris spots up for grabs as shooting hosts biggest qualifier yet in Egypt


    The rifle and pistol shooters of the world will congregate in Cairo, Egypt, for the 2022 ISSF World Championship (Rifle/Pistol), a major Olympic qualifier. Four places will be up for grabs in eight events, with ramifications for a further two events.


    The Egypt International Olympic City will play host to the event. A large complex that is scheduled to be finished this year, it is set to among other things be the new host to Egypt's football team, and it will become the second largest stadium in Africa as Egypt looks to bring the Olympics to the continent for the first time in 2036.


    Four places will be earned in eight events: the Men's 10m Air Rifle, 10m Air Pistol, 50m Rifle 3 Positions, and Rapid Fire Pistol, and the Women's 10m Air Rifle, 10m Air Pistol, 50m Rifle 3 Positions, and 25m Pistol. Only one place per NOC can be earned per event at this championships, and those who have already qualified a place for their country cannot qualify a further place. This is the first event for 10m events, but for 50m and 25m events the European Championships were held in Wrocław, Poland. Norway's Jon-Hermann Hegg and the Czech Republic's Petr Nymburský have already qualified in the Men's 50m Rifle 3 Positions, and France's Clément Bessaguet and Germany's Oliver Geis already qualified in the Men's Rapid Fire Pistol. On the women's side, Denmark's Rikke Maeng Ibsen and the Czech Republic's Veronika Blažíčková already qualified a place in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions, while Germany's Doreen Veenekamp and Poland's Claudia Breś have done so in the 25m Pistol. All eight are in attendance here. In the 10m Air Rifle and 10m Air Pistol events, qualifying one man and one woman will also ensure qualification to the mixed team event, for which there is no seperate qualification.


    Starting the preview of events on the men's side, in the 10m Air Rifle a number of talents are on display. American Olympic champion William Shaner and his fellow medallists Sheng Lihao and Yang Haoran (both of China) return. In fact, of the eight Olympic finalists, only last-placed Vladimir Maslennikov is not in attendance, no Russian shooters are. This means Sergey Kamenskiy cannot defend his title from 2018, but fellow medallists Petar Gorša and Miran Maričić, both of Croatia, are present. Moving to the 10m Air Pistol, and Iranian Olympic champion Javad Foroughi returns, as does Serbian Damir Mikec who was runner-up. Bronze medalist Pang Wei of China is not, but three other Olympic finalists are. The top two in Changwon four years ago (South Korea's Jin Jing-oh and Russia's Artem Chernousov) do not return, but third-placed Lee Dae-myung of South Korea is here.


    In the 50m Rifle 3 Positions, Chinese Olympic champion Zhang Changhong returns, but as stated earlier runner-up Kamenskiy does not. Serbia's Milenko Sebić, who won bronze in Tokyo also returns, as do all six of the finalists not from Belarus (for whom there are also no competitors) or Russia. Poland's Tomasz Bartnik returns to defend his title, as does runner-up Maričić but not American bronze medallist Michael McPhail. The Czech Republic's Jiri Privratsky and Slovakia's Patrik Jany, who narrowly missed out on a place in Wrocław, will also hope to qualify here. In the Rapid Fire Pistol, France's Olympic champion Jean Quiquampoix is back, as are minor medallists Leuris Pupo (Cuba) and Li Yuehong (China), but only one other Olympic finalist. Chinese reigning world champion Lin Junmin does not return to defend his title, nor does his compatriot Zhang Jian who came second to Lin in Changwon in an event Quiquampoix won bronze in. Other big names include Ukraine's Pavlo Korostylov and the Czech Republic's Martin Strnad: both made the final in Poland last month but just missed out on a qualification place.


    Over to the women's side, and again starting with the 10m Air Rifle, Chinese Olympic champion Yang Qian is not on the start list and Russian runner-up Anastasia Galashina is also obviously not there, but Switzerland's Nina Christen, who one bronze is present, as are three other Olympic finalists. South Korea's Im Ha-na who won gold on home soil four years ago does not defend her title, while minor medallists Anjum Moudgil (India) and Jung Eun-ha (South Korea) are also not present, leading to a potentially very open field. In the 10m Air Pistol, Russian Olympic champion Vitalina Batsarashkina is not here, but minor medallists Antoaneta Kostadinova (Bulgaria) and Jiang Ranxin (China) are, alongside four other Olympic finalists. Among them are Greece's Anna Korakaki, defending world champion, while minor medallists in Changwon Zorana Arunović (Serbia) and Kim Bo-mi (South Korea) also return.


    In the 50m Rifle 3 Positions, Olympic champion Christen returns, but as the minor medallists Yulia Zykova and Yulia Karimova are both Russian they do not. All of the other Olympic finalists are in attendance however. Karimova cannot defend her world title, with Germany's Isabella Straub and Croatia's Snježana Pejčić, who won silver and bronze in Changwon also not present. Daria Tykhova (Ukraine) and Jeanette Hegg Duestad (Norway), who both missed out narrowly on qualification in Poland will hope to gain a place here. Finally, in the 25m pistol, Olympic champion Batsarashkina is not present, and neither is South Korean runner up Kim Min-jung, but Chinese bronze medallist Xiao Jiaruixuan is in attendance. Ukraine's Olena Kostevych defends her title, with Changwon runner-up Batsarashkina not attending, but Vennekamp who won bronze at that competition attending with qualification already earned in Poland. Speaking of Poland, many athletes that missed out narrowly there are not in attendance, leading to a potentially open field.


    The Opening Ceremony of the event is on 13 October, with the first Olympic events being the 10m Air Rifle events which will take place entirely on 14 October, with the 10m Air Pistol events next on 15 October. The Women's 25m Pistol begins on 21 October, with the Men's Rapid Fire Pistol beginning on 22 October, both have their finals on 22 October. The 50m Rifle 3 Positions competitions are from 20-21 October (women) and 21-22 October (men).


    Patrick Green

    Writer, Totallympics News


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