Great Britain wins its largest medal haul at IPC Shooting World Championships
Great Britain's squad of 11 athletes have returned from the IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany with eight medals, including two golds, and three quota places for Rio Games earned by Matt Skelhon, James Bevis and Tim Jeffery.
The event, which took place from the 17 to 27 July, was the largest ever World Championships for the sport. It saw Great Britain register its best ever performance at the championships, winning two gold with two new world records, as well as two silver and four bronze and three international PBs.
Paralympian Matt Skelhon was Great Britain's most successful athlete winning individual gold and silver. In the R3 10m Air Rifle Prone Mixed SH1 he finished the qualification round in first place with a score of 635.7 but was beaten into second place by Korea's Jinho Park, who won gold with his final score of 211.9, beating Matt by just 0.6 (Matt's final score was 211.3). Abdulla Alaryani from UAE won the bronze with final score 189.1.
Great Britain's Lorraine Lambert, Owen Burke, Lesley Baldwin and Mandy Pankhurst were also competing and finished 37th, 54th, 59th and 82nd respectively.
Matt then went one better in the R6 50m Rifle Prone Mixed SH1 to take gold and a new world record. He led the qualification round with a score of 620.6 and then established a new world record of 209.5, beating his own previous World Record (206.9) to take top podium spot. Paralymic Champion Jonas Jacobsson from Sweden shot 205.9 and secured the Silver, while bronze went to Doran Shaziri of Israel with a final score 184.5. Great Britain's Karen Butler was also competing and finished 19th and Lorraine Lambert did not make it through the elimination round with a score of 595.
It was Deanna Coates, Mandy Pankhurst and Karen Butler who won Great Britain's other gold medal, taking team gold in the R2 10m Air Rifle Women SH1. Mandy Pankhurst qualified for the finals in second place with her score of 408.8, but could not covert to a podium place and finished eighth in the individual competition. Deanna Coates and Karen Butler shot 403.7 and 403.4 and finished 10th and 11th respectively. They however combined to win the team gold with a new world record of 1215.9. Germany won team silver and China won team bronze.
In the individual competition it was Paralympic gold medallist Veronika Vadovicova from Slovakia who took gold, leading the qualification round and finals with 411 and 202.7. Cagla Bas from Turkey and Yunri Lee from Korea won the silver and bronze respectively. Lorraine Lambert shot 389 and finished 23rd.
James Bevis won Great Britain's second individual silver, securing second place in the R9 50m Rifle Prone Mixed SH2. He shot 615.2 to finish behind Vasyl Kovalchuk of Ukraine with gold and a score of 621 and ahead of Croatia's Ivica Bratanovic, with bronze.
James then joined forces with Richard Davies and Tim Jeffrey to win two team medals.
In the R5 10m Air Rifle Prone Mixed SH2 both Tim Jeffery and James Bevis shot 634.5 in qualification and placed 7th and 8th but James finished 6th and Tim finished 8th after the finals. They joined forces with Richard to take team bronze. Team gold was won by Korea and team silver by Serbia.
In the R4 10m Air Rifle Standing Mixed SH2, Richard Davies finished the qualification in first place with a score of 635.4 and an international PB, but finished 7th in the finals. The youngest athlete in the squad, Tim Jeffery, who is only 18, shot 628.4 and an international PB to finish 14th, while James Bevis finished 35th with his score of 620.3. All three combined to take their second team bronze, this time behind Korea with gold and Slovenia with silver.
The next Team Bronze was In the R8 50m Rifle 3 Position Women SH1 in which, Lorraine Lambert, Karen Butler and Lesley Baldwin finished 10th, 12th and 13th respectively with their scores of 545, 543 and 543. Team Gold was won by China and team silver by Germany.
Great Britain's final medal was won in the Falling Target Rifle SH1 Mixed competition by Karen Butler, who took bronze.
In other top performances, Owen Burke registered a new international PB of 611.9 to finish 18th in the R1 10m Air Rifle men SH1 and in the P1 10m Air Pistol Men SH1 Roy Carter just missed out on a finals place, scoring 557 to finish 9th.
Performance Director and Head Coach Pasan Kularatne said: "I am very pleased with the overall performance of the whole team but there are a few very good performances that I should particularly acknowledge".
"The most outstanding performance was from Matt Skelhon who won gold and silver. He shot 620.6 to finish first in qualification - under varying wind conditions - to beat his own world record by 2.6 points in the finals. It was a stunning performance and once again he proved his ability and marksmanship skills, which were clearly demonstrated in the finals in which he established a new world record and was able to beat Jonnas Jacobsson, the greatest ever Paralympic Shooter, by 3.6 points under those conditions".
"I would also like to mention the performances of the 10m Air Rifle Women's Team, Mandy Pankhurst, Di Coates and Karen Butler, who established a new team world record. Karen also was able to win the bronze in Falling Target Rifle.
"It was great to witness Richard Davies finish first in his qualification in R4 with an international PB but unfortunately he could not convert this to a podium slot. James Bevis proved his ability in R9 50m Rifle once again by winning the silver".
"At Disability Shooting, we were able to achieve these results due to the support of all those who are involved with Disability Shooting Great Britain. I would like to appreciate the efforts, commitment and hard work by all the staff members of the programme which led us to achieve the best ever GB performance at the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships."
James Marsh Brown, the CEO of Disability Shooting Great Britain, also attended the World Championships to support the squad. He said: "It was a great pleasure for me to see the team in action. The professional approach shown by all the athletes and all the support staff is the reason why this squad has been so successful for the past seven years. We have developed a culture within the squad which I believe will deliver our goals at the Rio Paralympic Games in two years' time."
The full squad for the event was Matthew Skelhon (Peterborough, Cambs), James Bevis (Teignmouth, Devon), Karen Butler (Bristol), Deanna Coates (Yateley, Hampshire), Lesley Baldwin (Perthshire, Scotland), Lorraine Lambert (Portsmouth), Mandy Pankhurst (Ash, Surrey), Owen Burke (Denbighshire, North Wales), Roy Carter (London), Tim Jeffery (Newbury), Richard Davies (Stourbridge, West Mids).
They were supported by Performance Director and Head Coach Pasan Kularatne, Rifle Coaches - Robin Taylor, Mike Babb, Lee Riley; Pistol Coach Vladimir Filimonov; Physiotherapist, Jo Hipkiss; Psychologist, Jonathan Katz and support staff, Nicolas Badger and Roberta Ballestriero.